Smokers Resist Using Designated Areas

This vandalized sign in the garden between Gillson and Phelan is representative of many students’ disregard for USF’s non-smoking policy. Photo by Cass Krughoff/Foghorn

Smoking on campus has been restricted to two designated areas since Fall 2008, but according to students, cooperation from smokers has not been very effective. Smokers continue to smoke outside the boundary areas, including high-traffic places like the front of The Market, by residence halls, and Harney plaza. Yet the designated areas are located on main campus and Lone Mountain. One is behind War Memorial Gym and the second by the Rossi Wing. The smoke free campus policy has been an effort to eventually convert the university into a non-smoking campus.

“Smokers are still smoking everywhere. I don’t think the policy has done much to change that,” said junior Alexandra Garcia. Garcia works the front desk at Hayes-Healy and often sees smokers outside the building on her way to work and on her way out. “I can always count on seeing at least two or three people just hanging out smoking. It doesn’t bother me because I’m used to it, but I’m sure it bothers others.”

Kamal Harb, Director of Health Promotion Services, said that the policy is supposed to be a collaborative effort within the entire community. Not only should smokers be expected to use the designated areas, but students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to go up to smokers and ask them to relocate to a designated area.

“Compliance has been an issue. People know about the policy but they are not complying by the policy,” he said. “Many support the policy, but the key is enforcement and compliance.”

Complying with the policy is a challenge because of the new students entering the university who are not well aware of it, Harb said. Dependence on bystanders to enforce the policy has been highly emphasized, since public safety officers are not expected to issue tickets or some form of punishment if smokers are found outside the designated areas.

“Public safety has other issues to deal with besides chasing smokers on campus. That’s not the purpose of the policy, to treat them like outlaws,” Harb said. However, if smokers become abusive of the people asking them to relocate, public safety does have the authority to intervene or report the incident.

Harb said that the biggest holdup in the policy is that young people don’t encourage  their peers to smoke in the designated smoking areas.

“I don’t want to seem whiny,” Freshman Pablo Abarca said. “It’s really inconsiderate because they’re smoking where they’re not supposed to.” Abarca said he has never asked people to relocate in the past, but if he was sitting at a bench near someone smoking, he would ask them to smoke elsewhere.

Harb said that the policy has made somewhat of a change, which is meant to change the norms of the campus. “If you pass by a designated area, you’ll find many smokers are smoking right there. Change is happening but change is slow in coming.”

Senior Anders Christiensen is a smoker on campus, and said that he has no problem going to the designated areas or going off-campus to light a cigarette. If USF became a non-smoking campus, he said, “it woundn’t bother me, I would just go smoke a block away from campus if I had to.”

Harb said that this semester, Health Promotion Services will send the Dons Mascot to go around campus and distribute lollipops to promote the policy and non-smoking.

He said the policy is really a means to encourage people to quit smoking. Health Promotion Services offers free programs to students looking to quit. Even free smoking aides are provided.

Since the policy was implemented, three or four people have come into Harb’s office every semester interested in quitting. “It usually takes four to six weeks to decide the best way to quit smoking,” Harb said. “Many individuals think when they meet with me, they have to quit right away. But it’s a process. I believe in small steps to reach the ultimate goal. It takes practice to smoke, and its going to take practice to quit smoking.”

Harb has even gone up to smokers and provided them with information to make an appointment if they were interested. People often turn down his proposition because they don’t want to quit, he said. “Its an addictive thing, and many young people think they can quit anytime,” he said.

As a public health professional, Harb has noticed that smokers tend to be younger and younger, particularly because tobacco companies target younger people with messages that promote indepence and personal rights. Messages that question, “Aren’t you tired of people telling you not to smoke anymore?” Harb said.

For Harb, it’s unfortunate because second-hand smoke kills about 52,000 people annually, and the policy is to also protect non-smokers. He has received complaints from Parina Lab, because smoke enters the windows of the computer lab when people smoke outside of Harney. “People are inhaling smoke and it’s not fair,” he said.

At the end of the two-year period, Task Force, USF’s evaluation system, will evaluate how the policy has measured up in terms of enforcement and compliance. Data will be collected through surveys distributed to the campus community, and ASUSF Senate will also be contacted to get student feedback.

The information will be considered to decide if it is the right decision to completely make USF a smoke-free campus. The USF’s Presidential Cabinet will have the final say to change the policy or not.

“We don’t want to treat smokers as criminals,” Harb said. “We want to provide them with educational information on how to help them quit smoking.”

6 thoughts on “Smokers Resist Using Designated Areas

  1. I don’t feel like the smoking ban has made a very noticeable impact on the amount of smoking on campus. You still see people smoking in the middle of campus, in front of the cafe or in Harney Plaza every day. Maybe slightly fewer people than pre-fall 2008 but still enough so you get the secondhand smoke scent as you pass.

    Perhaps this continues because everyone knows the policy is just a “suggestion” with no actual consequences.

    I think a complete ban on smoking would be more effective in eliminating the behavior of these rebel smokers. But a complete ban would also pose a safety risk to on-campus residents who would have to go out in the streets to smoke, even late at night. So I don’t know what the right solution is.

  2. The new Tobacco Prohibition

    I would like to take the time to tell the entire community about a falsehood so big that everyone who believes in freedom should be appauled.
    This falsehood is so big it resonates from historical fact forward to this day. This falsehood is so big billions of dollars have been spent to make it believable to those of us who dont take the time to look up the facts.
    We all remember reading about alcohol prohibition,but did you know there was also tobacco prohibition going on before alcohol became such a target of the last nanny staters.
    Our great grandparents lived thru prohibition and the great depression,they also lived thru tobacco prohibition.

    Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

    1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. “Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity” (Dillow, 1981:10).

    1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

    1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. “You can’t do that on Fifth Avenue,” the arresting officer says.

    1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: “Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do.”

    1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.

    1937: hitler institutes laws against smoking.This one you can google.

    Now onto the falsehood……

    We have been told for years by smoke free advocates that second hand smoke is the cause of everything from johnnys ear ache to cousin ED’S lung cancer. But wheres the proof!!!

    Remember they claim 50,000 deaths a year yet,there are no bodys not even mass graves of the dead to second hand smoke.We await the names of these victims.

    A simple stroll down historys road say 10 years or so and we start to get at the truth……

    A federal Judge by the name of osteen got a case dropped in his lap in North Carolina,the case was that of EPA’S study on second hand smoke/environmental tobacco smoke.The judge an anti-tobbaco judge by reputation spent 4 years going thru the study and interviewing scientists at EPA and came to the conclusion :


    ”EPA’s 1992 conclusions are not supported by reliable scientific evidence. The report has been largely discredited and, in 1998, was legally vacated by a federal judge.Before its 1992 report, EPA had always used epidemiology’s gold standard CI of 95 percent to measure statistical significance. But because the U.S. studies chosen[cherry picked] for the report were not statistically significant within a 95 percent CI, for the first time in its history EPA changed the rules and used a 90 percent CI, which doubled the chance of being wrong.

    This allowed it to report a statistically significant 19 percent increase [a 1.19rr] of lung cancer cases in the nonsmoking spouses of smokers over those cases found in nonsmoking spouses of nonsmokers. Even though the RR was only 1.19–an amount far short of what is normally required to demonstrate correlation or causality–the agency concluded this was proof SHS increased the risk of U.S. nonsmokers developing lung cancer by 19 percent.”

    So here we find that second hand smoke was made a political scapegoat by EPA.Lets not forget how EPA has reworked the global warming studys just this last summer. Where its top scientists paper was rebuked because it didnt carry the EPA’S stand that global warming was real.

    The political shenanigans surrounding SHS/ETS go deep not only with the government and its health agencies but also to the big pharmaceutical companies and non-profit orginizations aka ACS,ALA,AHA and a meriad of others. All lobbying for smoking bans and their weapon of choise Propaganda paid for by big pharma and tax dollars. Studys made to order that second hand smoke is deadly. Take a memory note here too,over 250 studys on shs/ets have found it safe.

    Yet a simple look at the chemistry shows us that its:

    94% of secondary smoke is composed of water vapor and ordinary air with a minor amount of carbon dioxide.

    3 % is carbon monoxide.

    3 % is those supposed 4,000 chemicals to be found in tobacco smoke. Unfortunatley for the smoke free advocates these supposed chemicals are more theorized than actually found.What is found is so small to even call them threats to humans is beyond belief.Nanograms,picograms and femptograms……
    (1989 Report of the Surgeon General p. 80).

    Now, how odd that when we search the smoke free activists sites not one of them mentions that water vapor and air are the main components of second hand smoke. Is this just a fluke or an outright omission to further their political healthscare against the general public.

    The last informative tid bit I have for you is what does OSHA have to say about all this secondhand smoke stuff.

    Here is where it gets interesting,it seems John Banzhaf, founder and president of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) decided to sue OSHA to make a rule on shs/ets not that OSHA didnt want to play ball with him,its just that the scientific facts didnt back up a rule to start with.

    Now for a rule to happen Osha has to send out for comments for a period of time and boy did the comments fly in, over 40,000 of them….Osha has whats called PEL’S and limits for an 8 hour period of exposure to chemicals in indoor environments…[epa is in charge of outdoor air]

    This is where second hand smoke really becomes a joke,remember its nearly 94% water vapor and air… lets get to the facts of toxicology and dose makes the poison:

    According to independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke……..

    They did the figures for what it takes to meet all of OSHA’S minimum PEL’S on shs/ets…….Did it ever set the debate on fire.

    They concluded that:

    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So,OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA, To Leroy J Pletten, PHD, July 8, 1997


    By the way ASH dropped their lawsuit because OSHA was going to make a rule and that rule would have been weak and been the law of the land,meaning no smoking bans would ever have been enacted anywhere,simply because an open window or a ventilation system would have covered the rule.

    Let me also tell you that the relative risk for shs/ets by the SG report of 2006 was a 1.19 ”EPA study is whats used to call it a carcinogen”……milks is a 2.43 and that glass of chlorinated water your about to drink is a 1.25 yet these things aren’t determined to be a carcinogen….The gold standard in epidemiology is a 3.0….Now had the SURGEON GENERAL included 2 other shs/ets studys the relative risk for disease from shs/ets would have been nearer a.60-.70 meaning it would have a protective effect against ever getting disease.

    But,what each of us has is years and years of exposure and the knowledge that our kids all grew up around shs and generations of others,yet we are here alive not dead from a lousy 30 minute exposure to shs as stanton glantz tries to claim…..thats another story and its just as crazy as all the rest of smokefree’s claim about shs/ets.

    Oh! have you heard the one about ”laugh” thirdhand smoke or third hand drinking.
    Like I said their claims border beyond that of any reasonable persons commomsence.

    The next time you see a healthscare claim
    consider the source.Especially if it comes from a government or non profit agency!

    disclaimer; I am a victim of the smoking bans like tens of millions of smokers and non-smokers who liked to hang with their friends in a public accommodation. We have in effect lost our freedom of association because of the bans.
    Property owners have lost their right to their property rights by these laws based upon psuedo-science and propaganda.I dont work for any tobacco company nor do I get anything but the satisfaction that I can make the smoke free activists cringe when the truth gets out.

  3. No smoking should be allowed in the united states it corrupts our people and even gets the best of them! I agree“`

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