ASU moves toward becoming a tobacco-free campus

The University Senate approved a motion Monday to ban tobacco on campus beginning in fall 2013. (Photo by Jenn Allen)

The University Senate, a group of faculty members who influence and shape University policy, voted Monday to approve Motion 2012-58, banning tobacco on campus next fall.

ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler, who worked on the committee that endorsed the motion, said the process to enact the policy is not complete.

“Even though faculty senate voted today, the policy is not in effect,” she said. “Some other groups need to be notified, such as the deans and the community municipalities.”

Several key groups, including student government, faculty, staff, and executive leadership, have supported the motion, Keeler said.

“We expect to make the policy announcement late fall and to put it into effect next year,” she said. “The time in between will be used to educate people about it, and to help students and staff who wish to quit.”

The student-driven initiative will help the campus community lead a healthier lifestyle and promote safety, Keeler said.

Business technology management junior Ali Alhabib, who smokes regularly, said he supports the policy.

“It’s good news because I want to quit smoking,” he said. “It will definitely be hard, but I’ll get used to it.”

Alhabib said he stands behind the senate’s decision because he doesn’t want to cause harm to other students.

“It will help others who don’t smoke because they won’t be affected,” Alhabib said. “Even on designated areas, we are affecting them.”

Business technology senior Al Sadiq said he smokes regularly and doesn’t agree with the ban.

“I know it’s bad for your health, I agree with that,” he said. “But for me, it’s a personal habit.”

Sadiq said smoking should be allowed in specific areas on campus.

“Inside the buildings, I accept no smoking,” he said. “But it’s up to me if I want to smoke somewhere else. There should be designated areas.”

Construction management professor Aaron Cohen said he doesn’t agree with the policy, although he is not a smoker.

“There should be places where people can smoke,” he said. “What are you going to do if you have a hankering for a smoke? Walk a mile? It’s silly.”

Sustainability junior Katherine Foster said she finds the policy unnecessary.

“I definitely understand the reason behind it, but at the same time I think it’s too extreme,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s our free will.”

Foster said she doesn’t want a ban on tobacco but thinks smoking should be limited to designated areas.

“To exile cigarettes throughout the entire campus is absolutely excessive,” she said.

Nanoscience graduate student Jeff Burkhartsmeyer said tobacco should not be banned on campus.

“We are all adults here; we should be able to choose,” he said. “There’s already no smoking indoors.”

Burkhartsmeyer does not smoke but said he is not concerned about health risks.

“As long as they keep to a smoking area, I don’t think they pose a threat to my health,” he said. “Especially in the case of other forms of tobacco, why should we stop someone from chewing it?”

 

Reach the reporter at dpbaltaz@asu.edu