Tobacco ban implementation shows UK’s success, failure

Kernel Editorial Board

With the tobacco ban in effect now for three months, it was time for a progress report from the university. Has this culture of compliance that Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative Task Force Co-Chairs Anthany Beatty and Ellen Hahn have preached about actually become the norm?

On one hand, yes. According to a Feb. 17 Kernel article, the number of people using university-provided resources to quit smoking has doubled since the tobacco ban went into effect at UK.

While the number of participants may seem small compared to the more than 26,000 students on campus — not including all of the faculty and staff — it is a step in the right direction for these smokers and their health.

According to the Kernel article, the numbers of individuals who have used various UK resources are as follows:

  • 58 enrolled in nicotine replacement
  • 67 participated in phone- and e-mail-based programs
  • 19 used free nicotine replacement therapy
  • 51 received counseling from a tobacco treatment specialist.

Assuming the people using those treatment options were unique individuals, 195 people, on record, have been helped by the university to deter their smoking habits. These numbers do not include individuals who may have quit without using UK’s services.

“I think the bottom line is … for a new policy like this, I think it’s going well,” Hahn said.

While it may be going well for those 200 or so documented individuals, the university should drop the smoke and mirrors act and realize people blatantly ignore the ban on a daily basis.

According to the same Kernel article, only two individuals reported tobacco violations, but neither person had followed through with bringing their report to the Dean of Students or Human Resources.

Hahn said she believes the low number of violations indicates that people are complying with the ban.

But let’s not kid ourselves. Some people have used the university’s resources to quit and surely others have sought treatment elsewhere, but many individuals are still smoking on campus with no intention of quitting.

If the UK population wants to get serious about this tobacco ban, reports need to be made and followed through to the Dean of Students or Human Resources. If not, the tobacco ban will be nothing but meaningless signs littered throughout campus.