UK enacts email system to report smoking violations

By Morgan Eads

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Even since the inception of the smoking ban on campus in November 2009, congregations of smokers are still seen around campus.

The UK Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative Task Force hopes to push the campus toward being truly tobacco-free.

To report tobacco use, a student or employee can now email [email protected] with the location, time and a detailed description of the violation.

“We don’t expect people to go up and ask people their names, but the more details the better. If they give a large area we can’t really follow up,” Dr. Ellen Hahn, co-chair of the task force, said.

Hahn said that with the reports, ambassadors would use the details, trends and known “hot spots” to find the offenders.

The legitimacy of the claims will be ensured by follow-up contact with many who make reports and the fact that vague reports will not be followed without further contact.

Students who are caught violating the no-smoking policy are reported to the dean of students.

First time offenders will not be punished harshly, and treatment will be made available to those who are interested.

Some non-smokers agree that dealing with cigarette smoke on campus can be a pain.

“I know I don’t like to go around smelling cigarette smoke all the time,” said biosystems engineering freshman Stephen Cecconi.

Some think that people are unlikely to take time out of their day to report violators.

“I don’t think someone is going to take the time to tell on someone,” history senior Marquess Dawson said.

One student thought that the system might be more effective if it used a method other than email.

“I don’t think people would take the time to do all of that, especially since it’s email. If I were to ever do it, I’d probably do a text over an email,” said elementary education junior Sarah Quade.

Hahn believes this system is more convenient than those in the past, so people are more likely to use it.

She also said there have been about 15 reports using the system since the news release went out.

The success or failure of this system will hinge on whether or not people actually use it.

“We just want to remind everyone that this is all about health and creating a healthy environment for everyone on our campus and I’m really proud of our university for doing this,” Hahn said.