SGA to conduct second student smoking survey

The Student Government Association is reviewing the current Smoking and Tobacco Policy, and it might be going up in smoke.

The Senate will suggest changes to university administration and the Shared Governance Executive Committee once they review the policy. SGA is considering suggesting a “smoke-free” campus.

“As of right now, the senators drafting the resolution will define ‘smoke-free’ as restricting smoking outside of designated areas,” said SGA President Nick Lang. “However, this key component of the resolution could change as we gather student feedback.”

The resolution would include all tobacco products defined in the Smoking and Tobacco Policy. This includes smokeless tobacco products such as snuff, e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

Senators have debated what a “smoke-free” campus means. Lang said the Senate wants student opinion on a smoke-free resolution before they bring any proposals to the floor.

SGA conducted a survey to gather students’ opinions on a smoke-free resolution last November.

Each student received a smoking survey and answered questions about UNA’s current smoking policy. Students also shared their opinions about smoking on campus.

SGA plans to email a new survey to each student again before they submit their proposals, said Lang and Senator Mollie Schaefer.

“We need (students’) feedback in order to fully voice what the students want to the administration,” Lang said. “Students can voice their opinion by taking the survey or by talking to me or any other SGA representative.”

Lang said SGA hopes to have the resolution ready by the end of January or February.

“The (Student Welfare) Committee did a lot of work on the resolution last semester, but we didn’t feel comfortable rushing it,” Schaefer said. “We’re taking this month to complete surveying.”

She said the November survey results indicated that most students were in favor of designated smoking areas like “smoking hubs,” not banning smoking and using tobacco products entirely.

However, she said SGA needs a second survey before making any changes.

Schaefer said she encourages students to reach out to SGA and share their opinions about the smoking policy. She said SGA needs student feedback in order to function properly.

“I think as long as smokers are courteous and mindful of others then I don’t mind if they smoke outside on campus,” said sophomore Jessica Coffey.

Senior James Rainey said he supports a smoke-free campus because he cares about the health of the student body.

“I am for a smoke-free campus because secondhand smoke affects my health and it smells bad,” Rainey said. “I also think a smoke-free resolution would help improve the health of the students and also the environment around the campus.”