School survey reveals smoking annoys majority

Katie Paysinger

Survey results announced April 2 revealed 67.2 percent of the Linfield community is often or occasionally bothered by secondhand smoke on campus.

With tables outside Walker Hall and Withnell Commons, students in the Drug Use in the U.S. class spoke to students about smoking, as well as the dangers of other tobacco products, such as hookah.

“Kick Butts Day was an opportunity for us to actually look at the issue of smoking on campus,” Christina Ries, coordinator of health promotion and student wellness, said. “It’s not a day that we’ve normally done any prevention or education on before but because smoking is becoming more of a hot topic on college campuses, we thought we would use it as an opportunity to do more education.”

Linfield’s policy states a person cannot smoke within 30 feet of a campus building. Chalk outlines 30 feet away from buildings were drawn around campus Wednesday to show the limits of this designation.

“I really noticed the chalk lines outside my apartment complex,” senior Odysseus Ramsay said. “There are a lot of cigarette butts within those lines right now.”

Ramsay worked at the information table outside Walker on Wednesday.

Educational information, facts about immediate and long-term health benefits from stopping smoking and Quit Kits were accessible at the booths.

The purpose of Kick Butts Day was to announce the results from the smoking survey Linfield students, staff, faculty, members of the Linfield Employees Association and administrators took online a few weeks ago. The results were also available for viewing.

There were 426 participants who took the survey. Sixty nine percent said they encounter smoke on the Walker and Riley Center patio. Those buildings are less than 60 feet apart, therefore it should be a completely smoke-free area.

The results of the survey were discussed at the March 19 Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team meeting.

“ADAPT does a lot of work with alcohol, so we thought we would shift focus a little bit to focus more on tobacco,” Ries said. “We wanted to reveal these survey results to let people know what the gauge is on the issue of smoking.”

The survey shows          30.8 percent of the participants are not very concerned about secondhand smoke on campus, yet 38 percent highly support making Linfield a smoke-free campus.

Questions in regard to alternate forms of tobacco, such as hookah and salvia, were also addressed.

“There is this perception that these other drugs are safer,” Susan Chambers, adjunct professor of health and human performance, said. “I really want to start the awareness process that these drugs are not by any means safer.”

Students were able to leave additional comments at the end of the survey. These comments varied in opinion, with some being highly opposed to controlling smoking on campus.

“Do not ban smoking on campus,” one student said in the survey. “This is a violation of my civil rights and the Constitution. I shall transfer schools if Linfield becomes a smoke-free zone.”

Banning smoking is not an infringement of anyone’s rights or the Constitution, Ries and Chambers said. Oregon Health and Sciences University recently prohibited smoking on its grounds, which sparked the idea at Linfield.

However, Linfield has no intention of banning      smoking.

“We just want to increase awareness about the health effects of tobacco,” Chambers said. “We want to make people aware of our policy in regard to smoking and secondhand smoke.”

ADAPT is currently looking into moving the ashtrays posted next to entrances on campus buildings. The location contradicts the 30-feet rule, and moving them is at the top of discussion.

For smokers who want to stop, quit kits are offered at the Wellness Office in Memorial 101. 1-800-QUIT-NOW is a free telephone service also available to             the public.

2 Comments on School survey reveals smoking annoys majority

  1. Joe Camel // April 4, 2008 at 9:05 am //

    “Banning smoking is not an infringement of anyone’s rights or the Constitution”.

    I submit that banning smoking–particularly in the breezy outdoors– is a vile, sadistic and totally unwarranted infringement on smokers’

    Constitutional questions are decided by judges, not Tobacco Nazis, although the latter seems to be ahead at the moment.

  2. Nobody is totally banning smoking. All anyone is asking is that smokers not pollute the air of others. Judges have ruled that smoking bans are constitutional in many states and cities already. Not one ban has been thrown out on constitutional grounds. There is no right to smoke wherever you please. And if private businesses want to ban smoking from their grounds they have every right to do so.

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