Struggle to be smoke free


Capilouto reminds that campus is smoke-free

By Chase Sanders

This week, the UK community is celebrating the two-year anniversary of its campus-wide smoke-free ban. However, there are a number of people who are not aware the ban exists and some who choose to ignore it.

The policy was first integrated into the school bylaws on Nov. 19, 2009, and a number of events are scheduled to celebrate the occasion.

“As the University of Kentucky approaches its second anniversary as a tobacco-free campus, we continue to see significant increases in the number of employees and students taking advantage of our tobacco cessation aid programs,” Jay Blanton, UK’s spokesman, said.

UK’s administrators are concerned about the well-being of students and staff around the UK community, Blanton said.

“Tobacco use causes far too many completely preventable deaths and health ailments in Kentucky,” he said. “We should be proud of the fact that our flagship university has become a statewide leader in tobacco cessation regulations and treatment.”

Last week, the UK College of Nursing sponsored the “Why I like a Tobacco Free Campus” snap-shot station in coordination with the Tobacco-Free Take Action initiative.

Chris Parker, a College of Nursing instructor, said the event was set up with coordinated efforts from the College of Nursing and Tobacco-Free Take Action.

In an effort to keep awareness of the policy on the rise, the College of Nursing will make “tobacco ambassadors” available to students and staff, Chris Parker, a College of Nursing instructor, said.

“We’ve found that general education and peer support is providing a lot more compliance,” he said.

Some students believe a high level of disregard for the policy continues to exist on campus.

Natalie Srouji, a senior international studies senior,  does not think the tobacco-free policy has been a reason for any UK smokers to nip their habit in the bud.

“People are indifferent to the rule, because there aren’t any consequences,” she said.

Srouji said the pressure of school adds to the amount of smoking on campus.

“I definitely say that students tend to smoke at the library,” she said, “because it’s stress-related to studying for tests.”

Amber Shobe,  an English major, said she mostly ignores the ban.

“As long as it’s outside, I think it’s an individual’s right to decide whether they want to smoke as long as it’s outside,” she said.

The smoking ban is ironic, Shobe said.

“The most people I see smoking on campus is outside the hospital,” Shobe said.

Shobe said she thinks the ban is a good idea. However, she doesn’t think UK should heighten enforcement because it could make the matter worse.

“I think it’s good because a lot of your top schools have a smoking ban,” she said, “but I think UK could be focusing on improvement in other areas. Drinking is a bit more of an issue than smoking and they enforce rules against it.”