Students share mixed opinions on proposed changes to campus smoking policy

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As the Student Governing Association considers making changes to the university’s smoking policy, the topic has become an important issue to many K-State students.

“Personally, I’m not a big fan,” said Douglas Beebe, sophomore in mechanical engineering, about on-campus smoking. “I understand that banning smoking on campus would be difficult, but smoking is a personal choice and I’d rather not be subjected to it when I’m walking across campus and I am not someone who made that personal choice to smoke.”

Currently, smoking is allowed on the K-State campus, with some limitations. The current policy, effective since Jan. 5, 2009, states, “Smoking is a public health and fire hazard. Locations where smoking is allowed shall be restricted in order to: (A) prevent infringements upon others and (B) create and maintain an environment that is in the best interests of the safety, health, and well being of all the users of university property.”

Smoking is not permitted in any university building or vehicle. Research investigating smoking is allowed in laboratories designated for that purpose with authorization granted by the Department of Environmental Health & Safety. Smoking is prohibited within 30 feet of marked entrances to university buildings.

A motion to ban smoking on campus completely was met with 37 percent support by voters who completed a survey in the 2013 SGA elections, while 48 percent supported different plans to restrict smoking in certain areas and 15 percent voted to maintain current policy.

“I think smoking would be appropriate in designated areas if people followed the rules,” said Blake Benton, freshman in business management. “As a non-smoker, I find it irritating when you are forced to walk through clouds of smoke on campus when I’m just trying to walk to my next class.”

This is not an opinion shared by all students.

“I don’t think smoking should be banned on campus, because people have a right to smoke outside,” said Graham Krizek, sophomore in business. “If it’s 30 feet away from an entryway, like the rules are now, I don’t see a problem with it.”

Other students believe that the current rules are acceptable, but need more clarification.

“I think that designated smoking areas on campus need to be identified better. Smoking is a way to give smokers their break to relieve stress, and I don’t think people should be forced to walk all the way back home to do so,” said Eddy Gomez, sophomore in architectural engineering.

While Gomez is happy with the current rules, he isn’t satisfied with how it is handled in particular places on campus.

“One place I dislike when people smoke is in the entryway of Hale where it clearly says ‘Do not smoke,'” Gomez said. “If the security guards of Hale can take the time to go to the fourth floor to tell people to quiet down, they can take the time to go outside and ask smokers to move to a designated area or 30 feet away from the building.”

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