Students should be involved in tobacco ban process

Peyton Callanan

Over Spring Break, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved a policy that will prevent students from using tobacco products on any part of USG campuses, including buildings, dorm rooms and even in cars.

The ban will go into effect Oct. 1 of this year; however, the Board of Regents did not lay out a procedure on how this should be enforced on campuses. Instead, the enforcement and possible punishments are left up to each individual university’s student code of conduct.

This seems to be setting up each university for failure. Why pass a ban and not specify how it should be carried out, especially with something that is legal for most college students? Tobacco products are very different from other substances, like alcohol, because it is legal for a majority of students and does not impair judgement. Tobacco products may cause a buzz but do not make someone fall and stumble while walking to class.

President Keel expressed that he would not want to see a group of police officers becoming tobacco cops and just have students be responsible for each other. Thinking that out, it seems unlikely that many students will step up and ask those that are not following this ban to change their ways.

Another aspect to consider is the fact that many tobacco products are addictive and users must use them frequently to feed the craving. In a previous Student Government Association meeting, it was said that there would be cessation programs for students as well as faculty that are geared toward helping users stop using tobacco products. In planning these programs out, it would be useful to reach out for student input, non-smokers and smokers alike.

Some students appreciate the ban, while others are upset that it was passed, but regardless of the differing opinions the university should involve them in the process of enforcing the ban. If students have to abide by it, then they should have a say in it.