Students aim for tobacco-free campus with petition
Hailey Eisenbach / Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Student Health Advocacy Committee (SHAC) has introduced a petition to ban smoking on campus.
After the approval of a smoking ban at the Arizona Health Sciences Center, the Student Health Advocacy Committee hopes to put out cigarettes all over campus.
The Faculty Senate approved AHSC’s tabacco-free initiative in November, and it will go into effect on Jan. 1. SHAC created a student and employee petition to urge the UA to go tobacco-free campuswide.
The director of human resources for the AHSC, Cathy Nicholson, became involved in shaping the center’s tobacco-free policy two years ago, when Dr. Scott Leischow came to her.
“Initially they asked for my help and it’s my job,” Nicholson said. “But when I did background research I thought, ‘Wow, OK, it is a huge public issue.’ The implications for health policy are huge and I really was persuaded by the material.”
To implement such a policy, the center’s faculty had to research and look at other schools’ academic medical settings. “I felt very strongly [about the tobacco-free policy] because we are a medical and educational facility,” Nicholson added.
J. Lyle Bootman, the former vice president for Health Sciences, sponsored the center to move forward with the policy. The Faculty Senate passed the policy, but it still needs UA President Ann Weaver Hart’s approval.
The petition to ban tobacco use campus-wide is already up on SHAC’s website.
“We made it simple, we made it straightforward,” said Stephanie Kha, a member of SHAC’s health and wellness committee. “We want to affect the student population by creating a healthy environment for them to breath in. We feel as a higher academic institution, the University of
Arizona should go tobacco-free.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, 292 people had signed the petition. SHAC hopes to get 4,000 to 5,000 signatures.
The next step would be to go through the same process that the ACHS campus did, getting a faculty senate sponsor, drafting a petition for the faculty senate to vote on and then ultimately getting President Hart to sign for the policy.
After collecting enough signatures, SHAC would need a member of the Faculty Senate to sponsor the endeavor, in addition to a draft that the senate would vote on before sending to Hart for approval.
Currently on campus, the only restrictions that smokers face are a requirement that they be 25 feet from a building while smoking. There are also designated smoking areas on campus. This smoke-free policy would require students to go entirely off campus to smoke.
Laura DiFrancisca, a communications senior, said she did not think the ban would be effective, if it were implemented campuswide.
“I don’t think it really matters,” DiFrancisca said. “Because even if they do ban it, unless they have people enforcing it, no one is going to abide by it.”
As for punishments or sanctions for violating the policy, if it were to go into effect, Kha said SHAC has yet to work out the details. SHAC’s policy would likely require disciplinary or corrective action such as being directed to resources like the Arizona Smokers’ Helpline to help smokers quit, Kha said.
Other students said they thought the ban would be a great step for the university. Marketing junior Jared Erman’s grandmother died of lung cancer when he was 13, he said.
“Ever since that point, it felt like smoking is a person’s own choice,” Erman said. “But it shouldn’t impede on people who don’t want it. On campus there are plenty of people who don’t want people smoking around them and so it would be important to me to walk around campus
in a smoke-free environment.”