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Tobacco-Free May Be in Bobcats’ Future

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You see them chattering on the patio of Gordy Hall or sitting together on the benches of Ellis or taking a study break outside Alden Library. However, students may notice fewer smokers on campus after the university decides whether or not to implement a tobacco ban on campus.

Over the summer, the Ohio Board of Regents passed a resolution recommending that Ohio’s public universities implement policies for a tobacco-free campus. President Roderick McDavis convened the Ad Hoc Tobacco-free Task Force to “determine the implications for such a policy on our campus,” said Ryan Lombardi, chair of the task force.

“We’ll meet for the rest of the school year, so we expect it’ll take a while to get all the data together.”

At its first meeting on Nov. 5, the task force discussed policies adopted at other schools as well as the number of students, faculty and staff on campus that use tobacco.

“After the new year, we’ll start holding some open feedback sessions to get qualitative feedback,” said Lombardi. “I’m personally not a tobacco user so I don’t understand what that ban would mean for students or faculty or staff.”

A number of universities across Ohio have already implemented tobacco-free policies. The University of Toledo, according to an NPR article, banned smoking on campus except for in designated smoking areas, which resemble bus stops.

“I think that it’s fair to have a smoking ban indoors and in public spaces that everyone has to use, but I think there should always be designated smoking areas for people who have dirty habits,” said Sean Fenstemaker, an OU junior who smokes half a pack of cigarettes per day.

Megan Dalton, a sophomore psychology major and self-professed social smoker, agreed.

“As long as they clearly stated where we’re allowed to [smoke] and the smoking areas were accessible, then I would be completely okay with that,” she said.

Dalton predicted that she would quit smoking if the university were to impose a smoking ban on campus. Some students, like Dalton, smoke to relieve stress. The number of cigarettes consumed corresponds with the number of exams on their plates.

“I probably smoke two or three cigarettes a day, and it’s just during high-stress times,” said Christina Jones, a graduate student studying creative writing. “So it wouldn’t bother me so much, but I know other people that it would bother a lot.”

Though a campus-wide smoking ban may irritate some bobcats, many seemed open to it as long as easily accessible designated smoking areas were provided.

“As long as there’s places that you can go…around the buildings where people are going to class, I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” said Connor Goddard, a graduate student and smoker. “As long as I can still smoke at the bars.”


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