Mixed emotions toward new tobacco policy
August Bruno enjoys hookah at Espresso Art Cafe on University Boulevard on Saturday. Under the new tobacco policy, campus is a smoke-free zone, including hookah.
The UA created a new tobacco policy that went into effect on Aug. 25. Students so far have reported a mix of appreciation, anger and indifference towards it.
The policy states that the university now “prohibits the use of products that contain tobacco or nicotine, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, bidis, kreteks, hookahs, water pipes and all forms of smokeless tobacco,” or littering with “remains of tobacco or smoking-related products.”
The reasoning behind the new policy is, in short, health. The official policy states that “the university is dedicated to providing a healthy environment for those who participate in university activities.”
There are some exceptions, including electric cigarettes and cigars, nicotine patches and nasal sprays that contain nicotine and nicotine gums. Smoking is also permitted if it is being used for “controlled research with prior approval of the administrator responsible for the facility and, in the case of smoking, the University Fire Marshal,” according to the UA’s official policy. Tobacco may also be used in classroom instruction or experiments, or for traditional, cultural or religious uses.
Dillon Ramage, a film and television senior, is not satisfied with the new policy. As a smoker, Ramage said that he enjoys his smoke breaks between classes and that he doesn’t know if the policy will even stop smokers. Ramage also said that the university may be attempting to make the population on campus more healthy and stop smokers altogether, but instead, it is just pushing smokers to smoke more secretly or to relocate.
Kaeli Johnson, a communications junior, is appreciative of the new policy.
“I think it’s a good thing,” Johnson said. “I remember walking by [the Center of English as a Second Language], and there were always people smoking there. It’s frustrating because I take my health seriously. I don’t smoke for a reason, and even if I don’t want to breathe in all that secondhand smoke, that isn’t an option on a campus that allows smoking.”
Espresso Art Cafe, a hookah and coffee lounge on University Boulevard, is still free to serve hookah since it is technically not on campus.
“If you are an adult, you should understand that people are going to have lifestyles that are different than yours and that as long as they’re not infringing on your right, there is no reason to limit theirs,” said Angelina Easterbrooks, a barista at Espresso Art. “I believe that if there were smoking designated areas, there is no reason why someone who doesn’t want to smell the smoke could not go around those areas.”
She also stated that the hookah bar hasn’t appeared to be affected by the new policy.
“Espresso Art is doing great,” Easterbrooks said.
If students do not adhere to the new policy, they will be “referred to the appropriate college student affairs representative for educational resources with an emphasis on cessation,” as the policy states. Employees, affiliates, associates, volunteers and contractors will be referred to their supervisors. Finally, visitors and guests will be required to leave the campus if they refuse to follow the policy.
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