Students respond to new smoking regulations that will further restrict where smokers gather on campus.
BY MIG WINDOWS
Effective July 1st, RCC will adopt a new policy which will prohibit smoking in any non-designated area on campus, according to a recent press release.
Alice Johnson, an aspiring schoolteacher who has been attending RCC on and off for the past 5 years, and her husband Eric, a computer science major who has been attending for around a year, were upset to learn of the smoking ban, stating that it will be difficult to smoke during ten minute breaks.
“Either extend the breaks or let us smoke in front of the building,” says Johnson, while his wife muses, “Can’t we just crack open a window?”
Others do not share the Johnsons’ viewpoint.
“I would love a smoking ban,” says RCC Health and Fitness Instructor Tobie Baertschiger. “If you want to smoke in your house or your car, that’s fine, but smoking in public is offensive.”
Both the Johnsons and Baertschiger had complaints about the designated smoking areas currently in place on the Riverside Campus. The Johnsons referred to themselves as “The Sardine Smokers,” and protested that the shelters provide little shielding from those that wish to avoid smoke, which would be the point of banning on-campus smoking in the first place.
“Even the shelters are offensive,” says Baertschiger. “I walk by and I smell it and it’s dirty.”
Brian Blew, also a computer science major, is in favor of the ban, stating that “I don’t like to see people slowly kill themselves and a ban will help to discourage people from smoking.”
“I don’t want people to stand 3 feet in front of the door, smoking,” says Art Major Samantha Donelly. “I wish people would just smoke away from campus, but I think it would be unfair to force people to smoke in their cars.”
69 students filled out a survey earlier this year at RCC. There were 7 “smoke free” votes, one “tobacco free” vote, and 46 votes for “designated and enforced smoking areas.” Security will enforce these areas, though the consequences errant smokers face have yet to be determined.
One student who wished to remain anonymous stated that he would protest if smoking were banned completely, and that he would begin distributing t-shirts that read “Ban This” with an arrow pointing downward.
“As long as they don’t totally ban it, I’m okay,” says Alice Johnson. “At least there is a place to sit and enjoy a cigarette, although I’d like it if there were more benches. I feel uncomfortable about sitting on these campus flowerpots while I smoke.”