There was a lot in the news last semester about the University of Hawaii’s involvement with the movement to ban smoking on campus. The ban, which declared all tobacco products be banished from campus, was to take effect January 1, 2014.
ASUH approved the ban in February of 2012. All tobacco products including cigarettes, cigars, and e-cigarettes were no longer allowed. After a few semesters of fine tuning by the student senate, Chancellor Tom Apple announced last fall that the entire UH campus would become a smoke-free campus to protect the health of all students, faculty, workers, and visitors.
Banning smoking on college campuses is a trend spreading across the nation. As of January 2, 2014 there were 1,182 campuses with a 100% smoking ban and the number is only expected to rise in the next few years. Smoking is no longer the social norm, as the majority of people in the United States are nonsmokers. This is also a step to try and prevent people from taking up the habit. 99% of smokers started before the age of 26, and as college is a sea full of young adults, Apple and the rest of the student senate want to keep our students from being influenced.
Despite all of the hub and build up, if you have eyes or a sense of smell, you’ve noticed there are still plenty of smokers walking around on campus. This is because the Professional Assembly aka the Faculty Union filed an official complaint, claiming that unions on campus were not properly consulted for the situation. All campus unions were invited to an open meeting to discuss the ban, but the debate is whether the letter sent out is considered “properly consulting.” Until this issue is resolved, the ban is at a stalemate.
The ban, if implemented, has a huge effect. Students who live on campus are essentially forced to quit smoking altogether. The ban also applies to hired construction workers working on campus renovations. Maybe if they can’t smoke, they’ll be forced to finish campus center in this century.
Enforcing the ban has yet to be determined. As of right now, the only punishment for smoking is a look of disappointment from your peers, according to Apple. He claims no one will be fired or expelled for breaking the rule, though, so what’s the point?
While a smoke-free campus is in the realm of possibility for UH Manoa, it looks like there are some important details to work out before anything happens.