OPINION: Smoking ban hardly noticeable without enforcement of rules

A student takes a smoke break outside of the dormitories. (File photo by Kellly Pham | Collegian Media Group)

Since June of this year, Kansas State has enacted a campus-wide ban on smoking in all forms. Many students, including myself, have already enjoyed the decrease in foul-smelling cigarette smoke on campus.

However, K-State’s smoking ban is self-enforced, meaning that students essentially have to tattle on people who smoke on campus.

The lack of university enforcement takes the majority of the strength away from the ban in general. While ashtrays have been removed from campus, the nonexistent enforcement means that, practically speaking, people can still smoke wherever they want.

On the “frequently asked questions” page for the new smoking policy, there is no information on how or where to report someone for smoking on campus. The policy states that those not complying with the policy may be subject to disciplinary action, but does not give any further information.

In addition to a lack of enforcement, I’ve noticed the rise of vape pens on campus and other university-owned properties.

The smoking policy prohibits the use of “electronic cigarettes, vaporizers, hookah or other water pipe devices and all other related devices.” People using vape pens, however, take advantage of the lax enforcement of the rules as well as the size of their devices. The pens are relatively small and easy to conceal, and tend not to leave clouds as large as what traditional vaporizers emit.

While I am 100 percent in favor of a clean air policy for K-State, I think there is no good way to enforce said policy without extremely strict policing. Unfortunately, this level of enforcement would be prohibitively time consuming, expensive and invasive.

I would love to see our university become completely smoke-free, but that would require all members of the K-State family to be a part of the solution. Until we reach that point, it looks like we’ll have to settle for a mostly smoke-free campus.

Jason DeFisher is a senior in animal sciences and industry. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.