Wednesday, March 6, 2013
UNT smoking ban effective, despite lax enforcement
So far no mutiny from the philosophy and theater majors.
DENTON It’s been more than two months since UNT became completely smoke-free. Students, faculty and staff are still adjusting, but despite a near total lack of administrative enforcement, the effects of the policy are being noticed.
UNT’s “Smoke-Free Campus Policy,” which includes all university buildings and outdoor spaces, is intended to “promote the health, well-being and safety of students, faculty, staff and campus visitors,” according to the policy’s official description. All enforcement of the ban is left up to the UNT community.
“First, [the community] should confront each other, you know, ask anyone smoking not to smoke,” said Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Maureen McGuinness.
Should that fail to work, violators can be reported to the office of Student Affairs, which McGuinness said might be difficult.
“[Community members] can always report it to us, but you have to know the smoker’s name,” she said.
McGuinness said she has received one complaint since the ban’s implementation, but it was a complaint about the actual ban, rather than a report of a violation.
Philosophy senior Trent Greene, who admits to breaking the smoking ban, said there is reluctance among students to confront policy violators.
“No one has come up to me and said something, I guess people just don’t want to be ‘that guy,’” he said.
Greene did acknowledge that he has curbed his habit a little since the ban was enacted on Jan. 1, something McGuinness said was a desired outcome.
“People are leading a healthier lifestyle, because they are cutting back maybe, because they can’t smoke between eight and five,” she said.
Mechanical and Energy Engineering graduate student Colby Crumrine said he thinks the ban is a good thing for UNT students.
“I love it, but I’m not a smoker,” he said. “It’s nice to able to walk around a campus that’s not filled with smoke. Sam Houston State, the school I transferred from, had like 10 feet of smoke in front of every doorway.”
Crumrine said he still sees smokers on campus, “rebels” as he calls them, but he hasn’t confronted any because they are so few and far between.
McGuinness said she envisions the number of campus smokers continuing to dwindle the longer the policy is in effect.
“As time progresses, people are going to come [to UNT] with the expectation that there is no smoking, the community will forget that you ever could smoke on campus,” she said.
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