See past the smokeshow

Walking through campus I spot a group of students sitting under a tree near the Arts Center, puffing on their vape pens. A little further along I notice a woman in her thirties answering a phone call between drags of a cigarette near the rear entrance to the Liberal Arts Building.

As I pass them both, I can’t help but notice the sign on the door as I enter the building: “USI is a tobacco & vapor free campus.”

Maybe we should cut the half-measures and revise our smoking policy.

Although tobacco isn’t allowed in campus housing, there’s a general indifference toward its use on campus, running counter to policy.

It’s something that’s had me wondering why we even bother having these rules on campus.

I have never heard of someone being told to put out their cigarettes by campus security, and the students I see smoking around campus suggests that there’s little inclination to enforce this policy to begin with.

When I attended community college, smoking on campus was treated as thus: keep it out of the buildings.

There was seating outside where people would take a moment and smoke before going to class. It wasn’t uncommon to walk out of the Recreation Center and just see a small group of students casually smoking and talking to each other.

In spite of how little of the student body actually smoked, what was notable about the community college was how normal and accepted smoking was.

It’s the same attitude USI could, and perhaps should, have on smoking as a whole.

It takes nothing to just let students smoke on campus, especially if there are specific areas for it. All it takes is a little announcement via student email explaining where a student could go if they wanted to smoke.

Ultimately, it changes nothing about the student body, save for giving them another small privilege. I think it’s preferable to the smokeshow of a tobacco policy we have currently.