Students hold ‘mixed feelings’ on new smoking policy

By Lauren Belcher |
Photo by Phil Sunkel

For senior Mary Stamm, Flagler College’s new smoking policy is a breath of fresh air. Literally.

Stamm suffers from asthma and an allergy to cigarette smoke. She often has to use alternative exits in an attempt to avoid exposure to smoke. When told about the new restrictions Stamm screamed “Yes!”

“Walking out of Kenan or out of the library I would actually have my inhaler always in my hand,” Stamm said. “Because I’ve probably had two or three asthma attacks just from walking out the door.”

The new smoking policy went into affect July 1.

The updated policy states that smoking is prohibited in the following areas: in both breezeways between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., on Kenan Plaza and 50 feet from the entrance of the library.

Chewing tobacco was also added to the policy, which was already included for the inside of buildings.

Dean of Student Services Daniel Stewart said that library personnel asked for the library to be added in the new policy.

Senior Demika Gauthier thinks that the approval policy was sneaky.

“They were trying to get it [the new smoking policy] passed during the school year, but the students always made a big deal about it,” Gauthier said. “There was a big uproar and it was never able to be passed. Over the summer, everybody is gone, no one knows what’s going on, and all of the sudden July 1 it’s like ‘Oh you can’t smoke on parts of campus.'”

Stewart, who announced the policy last semester, said that was not the case.

“We didn’t want to affect the students here that have been used to a policy and try to implement it during the school year,” Stewart said. “So we said ‘let’s just implement it July 1 and we’ll educate after that.'”

Stewart said the college’s main form of implementation is education. The incoming freshmen were told about the new policy from Resident Advisers and orientation leaders. The main concern is returning non-boarding students.

Some students wonder if and how the policy will be enforced.

“What are they going to do, stick security guards between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and say, ‘You can’t smoke here,'” Stamm said. “What are the plans for the tourists who just walk around and smoke?”

Two students enjoy a cigarette on the newly restricted Kenan Plaza.

Stewart said the college is relying on posting signs and continual reinforcement. Security moved the smoking receptacles further away from the prohibited zones, hoping this will lure the smokers to a new location.

Sophomore Andrew Avery is a smoker. He doesn’t think the restrictions will effect him much. “I have mixed feelings really,” Avery said. “They haven’t made it so inconvenient that it’s a huge problem but at the same time I’m just not a big fan of it.”

He said if they wanted to complete the smoking policy, they would include all buildings such as the Student Center. Avery doesn’t think enforcement will be a problem for the college.

“I know they’re putting up signs,” Avery said. “I’m sure it’ll be enforced, maybe not heavily but not loosely, either. Somewhere in the middle.”

Stewart said the college probably went against what the students wanted. “They wanted a ban across campus,” he said, “We just weren’t willing to do that.”

Stewart said the policy would only be reevaluated if another location on campus became a problem spot and he started hearing complaints. Other than that, Stewart said he is “vehemently against a ban across campus.”

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