Administration hopes small campus will help with smoking restrictions

By Matthew Boyle |
Photo by Phil Sunkel

PHOTO CAPTION: Flagler student Lauren Ruotolo smokes a cigarette on campus.

Try arguing that smoking isn’t bad for your health: you don’t have a shot at winning. Even so, there’s a big enough smoker population at Flagler College to cause the administration to restrict smoking in certain areas of the campus.

Colleges and universities nationwide are attempting to ban or restrict on campus tobacco use. The University of Kentucky’s administration tried an all-out campus-wide smoking ban, enacted on Nov. 19, but, as UK’s student newspaper The Kentucky Kernel reports, it hasn’t worked out. UK couldn’t enforce it.

The University of Iowa tried a total ban too, but, according to Time, couldn’t enforce it because of its large, widespread campus.

Dean of Student Services Daniel Stewart thinks Flagler has better odds than big schools like UK and UI because of the smaller campus community.

“The small campuses we found in our research had higher success rates,” Stewart said. “I’m faithful that our students will follow the new rules.”

As for enforcing the new rules, Stewart said the college’s goal is going to be to “educate students the best we can.”

Though he wouldn’t get into the specifics of enforcing smoking restrictions, Stewart said the new rules would “follow the student handbook guidelines.”

Flagler’s student smoker population is a diverse community. Some student smokers light up occasionally and don’t smoke on a regular basis. Other student smokers’ habits reflect those of the more traditional smoker, one who plans his or her day around smoking. Some smokers at Flagler light up to relax and relieve stress.

Why should Flagler even let students smoke at all on campus?

“The way I look at is it’s not only a college campus, it’s where people live,” Stewart said. “They should have the same liberties as if they lived off campus.”

Why do students smoke, anyway?

Sophomore Lauren Ruotolo usually smokes only in social situations.

“When I hang with people who don’t smoke, I do smoke less,” Ruotolo said. “I like to smoke in social situations.”

Freshman Marsha Wolff smokes to relax. Wolff smokes about a half pack a day, depending on whether she can afford them or not.

“When you’re really, really stressed out, you just light up and it calms you down,” Wolff said. “There’s a rhythm to it.”

Freshman Corinne Bargar smokes at least a pack and a half of cigarettes a day. She has smoked since she was 12 and plans to continue smoking through college.

Bargar doesn’t think college student smokers start because of peer pressure but that there’s definitely a social element to it.

“A lot of my friends just started [smoking] in college,” Bargar said. “I think it’s the whole independence thing in college.”

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