Members of the CU administration and the Board of Regents are looking to initiate a culture shift that will discourage smoking on campus.
So far, little headway has been made on the proposal of a non-enforced smoking ban at CU.
“We’re not at a point where we have a solid idea of a smoke-free campus,” said Frank Bruno, the vice chancellor of administration at CU.
Board of Regents member Michael Carrigan introduced the idea of a smoking ban. Members of the Board of Regents said they believe the implementation of a smoke-free campus is long overdue.
“It’s not only the direct health benefits but that we don’t support something that is dangerous to your health,” Carrigan said. “I am surprised that students who take so much pride in the sustainability on campus don’t see that this is part of the same cause.”
Chelsey Joseph, a 20-year-old open-option major, said she agrees.
“I do want to quit, so it might help me quit,” Joseph said.
However, it seems that not all CU students agree that a smoke-free campus will benefit the community. Some students said they feel that a culture shift unjustly discriminates against smokers at CU.
“[The smoking ban] sort of makes me feel like a second-class citizen. Like there’s a moral code being placed on things we are allowed to do in public,” said Evan Rocco, a 22-year-old senior, studio arts major and smoker. “I think it encroaches on people’s personal freedom. Everybody does something other people won’t like—it doesn’t mean you can ban it.”
Furthermore, UCSU agrees that the proposed smoking ban appears to be illogical.
“I don’t think it’s a functional policy for students,” said Daniel Ramos, a 23-year-old senior sociology and Spanish major. Ramos, a tri-executive with UCSU, said he was unclear whether the goal of a smoking ban would be to create a healthier student body or simply to be a smoke-free campus symbolically.
CU-Boulder is not the first university to consider a smoking ban. Across America, universities have begun to tighten restrictions on smoking. CU intends on following the lead of universities like Oklahoma State and the University of Kentucky, both of which have banned smoking on campus.
“The idea is to change the culture over time,” Bruno said. “The desire to continue to improve the health of the campus is the goal.”
Similarly, Carrigan likens the current smoking restriction to the gradual acceptance of restrictions in airplanes, governmental buildings and restaurants.
“Over time it will become the accepted standard,” Carrigan said. Both Carrigan and Bruno said they believe implementing a non-enforced smoking ban will effectively make smokers a social “out-group.”
CU, however, differs from other universities because of a yearly protest in April. In the past, students have gathered on Norlin quad on April 20 and collectively smoke marijuana at 4:20 p.m. Despite the rapid rate at which the drug’s recreational usage has reached social acceptance, the substance remains illegal without a prescription.
When asked about the yearly protest the administrators were hesitant to approach the issue, saying that the proposed smoking ban and the events that often occur on April 20 were unrelated.
Whether or not a smoking ban will be beneficial, the Board of Regents said they believe that with the implementation of a non-smoking campus, CU is taking a positive step toward a healthier community.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sherveen Shingu at Sherveen.Shingu@colorado.edu.