Campus tobacco ban could be in GSU’s future

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

Jennifer Curington

Georgia Southern University students open up about their opinions on smoking and whether or not they support the possibility of a smoking ban on campus.

“They should definitely ban it. It’s not a big deal but it would make campus a lot cleaner.” –Ryan Nay, sophomore

University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents will decide at their meeting next week whether or not they want to roll out a statewide ban on cigarettes, dip, electronic cigarettes and all other tobacco products to the universities that fall under their jurisdiction.

Georgia Southern University’s Student Government Association is holding a forum at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday to explain what the change could mean for faculty and staff alike.

“I definitely think it’s something students across the state have wondered about. Some college campuses are already smoke- and tobacco-free and they have the benefits and cons of it so it will be interesting to see how it comes to Georgia Southern,” Garrett Green, president of SGA, said.

Green will present GSU’s students’ stance this Thursday and Friday to the Board of Regents.

In Spring 2012 a poll was taken and a majority of students voted in favor of designating zones for tobacco use but not banning it entirely.

Green said he expects that the Board of Regents will pass the ban and he definitely expects negative feedback from those who enjoy a smoke or use other tobacco products.

The language of the ban does not specify how GSU or other schools will have to enforce the ban.

“I don’t know if I would want a smoking and tobacco police going and fining people immediately as soon as they are caught,” Green said. “I think it’s one of those things, where us as a Georgia Southern community, we should be able to hold each other accountable for.”

If someone does try to hold a tobacco user accountable and is met with a not-so-friendly response, Green said that students and faculty should feel comfortable calling law enforcement to lend their authority in enforcing the band.

Green said that integrating the ban into GSU culture is going to rely heavily on educating students about the new rule and what the consequences will be, once those are decided. With the ban going into effect for the upcoming freshman class that means a huge change will happen to SOAR sessions this summer.

“Hopefully we’ll embrace it,” Green said. “I think people understand the overall health benefits of it all, but it will be interesting.”

Possible repercussions of the ban could be finding more cigarettes on the ground than in appropriate trash areas, Green said.

He also said that at other colleges where the ban exists, many students escape to their cars for a smoke. However, students at GSU park on campus, so that will be a violation of the new rule if it is put in place.