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UT urged to become tobacco-free: What Collegiettes™ think

News has hit the University of Texas that it is discussing a possible smoking ban that would make UT a tobacco-free campus. If the University does not adopt such a policy by March 1st, it risks losing millions of dollars for cancer research.
 
While some administration say such a change is inevitable, as many other college campuses have adopted tobacco-free policies, including Austin Community College and Texas State University, others argue that this imposes too much regulation on the student body. The current policy is that people may smoke on campus as long as it is 20 feet away from a building entrance.
 
We spoke with collegiettes™ around campus to gauge their views on this issue.
 
Many nonsmokers, while understanding the University’s reasons for considering the ban, remained skeptical about the idea of a tobacco-free campus. Lauren Daly, an education freshman said, “Young people will do what they want and only take this kind of thing as a challenge. It’s a pleasant thought, but honestly, I don’t think it will get very far.”

 
Undeclared freshman Christine Sulkis doesn’t like smoking, but she doesn’t think it should be banned. “I think it would be a better idea to limit smoking to designated areas rather than completely banning it," she said. "Considering how large campus is, I think it would be nearly impossible to enforce.”
 
Architectural engineering sophomore Jordan Bishop said, “I like smoking, but I do my best to not do it just because of the negative effects. I think that if the smoking ban goes into effect, it'll basically have the same effects as Prohibition did on the nation in the 20s, except it'll be on 50,000 young, impetuous students who really like their cigarettes.” She agreed with many of the other collegiettes™ surveyed that it is the students’ choice to smoke, and the administration would be overstepping its authority in taking away that choice.
 
“We’ve considered the consequences of tobacco use before and assume personal responsibility. It seems unrealistic to me that the University expects to see it gone forever,” said Radio-Television-Film freshman Taylor Barron. She thinks cutting down on smoking areas would be more ideal, but she hardly argues with the change in regard to its funding of cancer research.
 
Undeclared freshman Pu Ying Huang said, “It seems as if the smoking issue is finally being addressed due to the sake of some 80 million dollars given by a research institution. It makes me feel as if this is a matter of money instead of a matter of health.” She supports a stronger tobacco policy but believes there should be options for both smokers and nonsmokers.
 
“I just feel that it’s interfering with my personal freedom if they don’t have designated smoking areas, because I live here,” said business major Kaylan Cooper.
 
Those in favor of the policy argue that it will encourage smokers to stop and prevent others from starting. It will also create a cleaner environment and less secondhand smoke exposure for nonsmokers. Journalism freshman Caroline Beltran, who has had experiences with smoking in her family, thinks banning others from smoking on campus is a great idea.
 
Smoking is a common habit in Austin, especially among young people. According to the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, more than 1 in 6 adults in Travis County smoke or use tobacco. But how important of a factor is smoking when it comes to the opposite sex? When collegiettes™ from schools around the country were polled, about 79% said they would not date a guy who smokes. Fellas, you might want to see this possible smoking ban as a positive thing for your love life.
 
Sources:
The Daily Texas: Research group calls for tobacco ban
Live Tobacco Free Austin: Tobacco Facts & Statistics
Facebook Toll conducted by Alex Vickery

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