Smoke-free policy sails smoothly into second year on campus

A student takes a smoke break outside a residence hall in 2017. In June 2018, the university enacted a policy that prohibits smoking on campus. (Archive photo by Kellly Pham | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State University’s non-smoking policy came and went last year with little fanfare, and it enters its second year on campus in the same way.

The policy, set in place in June 2018, aims to “prevent infringements upon others; and create and maintain an environment and culture that is in the best interests of the safety, health and well-being of all users of university property.” This includes prohibiting the burning of tobacco in any device including electronic cigarettes, vaporizers and cigarettes in and on university property. An exception to the rule is the burning of tobacco in personal vehicles.

In the year since it began, there has been little pushback or controversy surrounding it, said Cindy Bontrager, vice president for administration and finance.

“I’m not aware of any major issues,” Bontrager said. “I’m sure that we don’t have 100 percent compliance. I have seen people smoke, and if I’m in a situation, I just remind them that, kindly, this is a no smoking campus and we’re not allowed to smoke.”

Ian Madewell, senior in political science, said he agrees with the policy.

“The cigs get all over the place and make our good school look like a trashy place. It shames the whole place,” Madewell said. “If I engage my admittedly bad habit, I’ll do it in my own backyard and not pollute our shared space.”

The policy is largely intended to be self-enforced.

“It’s not a felony or anything like that, so we’re going to be looking for the campus community for help reminding people that we’re a smoke-free campus and just hoping we build a stronger culture of smoke-free,” Bontrager said last year.

However, the possibility of disciplinary action is written into the policy. For university employees, this means reporting to a supervisor, who will handle the situation as they see fit based on the number of violations, Bontrager said. For students, violations would be handled through the Office of Student Life.

For students or staff looking to quit smoking, the pharmacy at Lafene Health Center offers over-the-counter nicotine replacements as well as free quit kits. For a list of other resources, visit Lafene’s website.

Hey, hi, hello! I’m Rachel Hogan, the copy chief for The Collegian. I’m a senior in journalism from Olathe, Kansas. When I’m not at work in the newsroom, I like to spend my time cuddling with my dog, working as a barista and laughing with my friends.