Official: Use common sense when smoking on campus

UNA student Darrick Dawkins finishes a cigarette in front of the GUC, a common smoking area for students.

For some students, smoking a cigarette can be a time to socialize and take a break from studying.  For others, it can be a nuisance and an unwanted obstacle to avoid while on campus.

The university policy regarding smoking and other forms of tobacco use can be found in the student handbook on page 39.  One of the main points of the policy is that smokers must stay at least 30 feet from all entrances to campus buildings.  Students who congregate around popular smoking locations, such as in front of the GUC or at the entrance to Collier Library, however, sometimes ignore this policy.

UNA student Amber Bockus said she usually smokes in front of the GUC.

“That is where I like to smoke; that’s where I meet people,” Bockus said.

Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields said it can be difficult to enforce the policy but that common sense can be used by both smokers and non-smokers to keep both sides happy.

“Personal responsibility is important,” Shields said. “When people respect each other, things tend to work out well.”

Shields also said that a place such as the smoking hut in front of the GUC is not 30 feet from the entrance and that it may need to be moved in the future.

“It’s one of those things, that until the university decides—and it may in the future do this—to be a smoke-free environment, it’s hard to enforce it,” Shields said.

University Police Chief Robert Pastula said he receives minimal complaints about smoking on campus.

“We don’t really write tickets for students who aren’t 30 feet away from an entrance while smoking,” Pastula said. “Usually all it takes is a reminder and students are willing to move along.”

UNA student Cody Cabaniss, an employee at Collier Library, said student smokers sometimes hang around the entrance and that library employees have to ask them to move.

“When smokers are standing around the doors, it can become a problem because the doors are constantly opening and closing, which sucks the smoke into the library,” Cabaniss said. “But if we ask them to move, they do.”

UNA student Ryan Mills said that if everyone used common sense and common courtesy, both sides could get along.

“No one has ever asked me to put out a cigarette or move,” Mills said. “But I also don’t litter when I’m finished with a cigarette, and I try to be courteous to non-smokers.”