MORROW— The Board of Regents plans to implement a new policy to promote a tobacco-free environment on all campuses within the University System of Georgia (USG).
Recently, Clayton State University’s (CSU) Student Government Association (SGA) invited students to come out and voice their opinion at a bi-weekly meeting.
In May 2008 the USG issued a Tobacco Policy Statement that prohibited the smoking of any material in all enclosed areas of the USG, including hallways, elevators, offices, restrooms, seminar/meeting rooms and all other spaces owned or leased by the USG.
The 2008 Policy also prohibited smoking in any outside areas adjacent to a USG facility whose configuration and other physical circumstances allow smoke either to enter and affect the internal environment or to adversely affect the environment of those entering or exiting the facility.
In accordance with the Georgia Smoke Free Air Act of 2005, the new policy will reinforce the agency’s commitment to provide a safe and amicable workplace for all employees by protecting them from involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke.
The current smoking policy of CSU prohibits smoking within 30 feet of building entrances. Faculty and students alike can attest to the numerous violations of this policy. It seems to have little to no effect on the smoking population. Some students even stand next to the sign and smoke.
If the Board of Regents passes the new policy, students will be prohibited from smoking on campus, this includes in parking lots and even inside the privacy of their own cars. The only exception to the policy is if the smoking is for religious purposes. Policy-makers say that violators will be assessed costly fees.
Deidre Ryan, President of Go- Green, votes in favor of the new policy. “I feel that this policy is a great idea. During our campus cleanups we pick up a lot of cigarette butts. The new policy will benefit the environment tremendously,” she said.
Dr. Antoinette Miller, CSU Professor of Psychology, had this to say about the new policy, “I am a non-smoker and believe that this policy will affect everyone in some way or another.”
In establishing such a policy, the USG is aiming to preserve and improve the health, comfort and environment of employees and any persons occupying facilities. Unlike smoke-free only campuses this new policy will turn CSU into a 100% tobacco-free campus where no forms of tobacco are allowed.
“So far 12 out of possibly 31 USG schools have acted on the smoke-free policy for the sole purpose of saving money for the health insurance of USG. If the board votes in favor for the new policy it will go into effect on July 1, 2014”, said Joshua Davis, CSU SGA President.
Smokers and non-smokers alike that attended this meeting agree that the university should enforce the current policy rather than ban smoking completely. It was suggested that the university officials give warnings and set consequences for people that do not adhere to the current no smoking within 30 feet of a building entrance policy.
Ultimately, the decision to pass the 100% tobacco-free policy lies in the hands of the USG lawmakers. The decision was postponed due to unforeseen weather conditions, but rest assured there will be a final decision in the coming weeks.