Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Campus governments divided on smoking policies

SPLIT DECISION: All four campuses are divided on their policies concerning smoking and smoking areas.  (Photo by Nikolai de Vera)
SPLIT DECISION: All four campuses are divided on their policies concerning smoking and smoking areas. (Photo by Nikolai de Vera)

After a tobacco-free bill was proposed on the Tempe campus, ASU’s three other campuses and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) followed suit to consider on-campus smoking policies.

The Undergraduate Student Government on the Tempe campus voted unanimously on Thursday for a bill suggesting designated smoking areas that will be reviewed by University administration.

The original Tempe campus bill supported a tobacco-free campus policy, but was changed to a smoke-free campus policy and finally to designated smoking zones by the USG senate.

Downtown campus

On Friday, the Associated Students of Arizona State University Downtown (ASASUD) passed a resolution that included a position statement in favor of a smoke-free campus policy.

The resolution said ASASUD endorses only the concept of a smoke-free campus and wants to work with administration on development of a University-wide smoke-free campus policy.

Beth Wischnia, vice president of ASASUD and senate chair, said the language was clarified in the statement on Friday and that each line was approved unanimously.

“We’re in favor of the idea of a smoke-free campus and we’re in favor of exploring our options, but at this time, we’re not willing to take an official stance on it or take it to a vote before we have more information about the implementation and proximity and enforcement of the ban on campus,” Wischnia said.

One issue, she said, is that there is an unofficial designated smoking area in front of Taylor Place that students adhere to, and a smoking ban could endanger student smokers by causing them to leave campus at late hours.

“If it were a smoke-free campus, those students would have to walk ‘X’ amount of feet or wherever the lines were drawn to smoke a cigarette,” Wischnia said.

There are also non-ASU students who walk through campus daily who might not follow the smoke-free campus policy, she said.

West campus

The Associated Students of Arizona State University West (ASASUW) passed through committee a smoking zones resolution that will be discussed in a senate meeting on Friday.

Everett Lively, the senate chairman, said he helped draft the resolution.

“It seems that there is a pretty sizeable amount of students on campus that wouldn’t want it to be smoke-free because a lot of them feel that it’s unfair [for] them, that since they do smoke that they shouldn’t have to go completely off-campus,” Lively said.

However, other students say current policy, like the 25-foot regulation, isn’t working.

“I’ve been trying to work on … just trying to find that compromise, something that is realistic and that might show some sort of possibilities of working out for everybody,” he said.

Lively said on the West campus, there are some designated smoking areas at Las Casas Residence Hall but not elsewhere, and a senate member reported there is little enforcement.

A focus on enforcement of old and possible new legislation, designated smoking areas, awareness and the creation of a board addressing these specific issues are future goals, he said.

“This is something that’s personal to me because my father died a couple weeks ago and one of the main causes that led to his death was the fact that he was a smoker for most of his life,” Lively said. “I even have health problems myself as a result of the fact that he’s a smoker and I grew up in that environment.”

Polytechnic campus

Matt McCoy, president of the Associated Students of ASU Polytechnic campus (ASASUP) said that in the last senate meeting, members voted 11-1 against a smoking ban on April 2.

“We believe in the personal liberties of students and believe that if they’re going to smoke, please smoke in the designated smoking areas and dispose of their cigarette butts in a clean fashion,” McCoy said.

There are about 16 designated smoking areas that have been in place on the Polytechnic campus, which are enforced according to Arizona’s law against smoking within 20 feet of non-residential buildings.

Graduate and Professional Student Association

GPSA voted against two bills that addressed position statements supporting a tobacco-free campus policy and a designated smoking zones policy for the Tempe campus on Friday.

Rhian Stotts, a GPSA assembly member who is on the association’s external affairs committee, said the assembly voted 5-15 against smoke-free zones with two abstaining, and 7-15 against a tobacco-free policy.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people and I felt that, ideally, a lot of people think that there should be a smoke-free campus but not because of a rule [and] that it should be smoke-free because people have made that decision and know that smoking is harmful,” she said.

One concern that came up, Stotts said, is that it would be easier to enforce a smoke-free campus, such as with peer enforcement, and that the current 25-foot policy is not enforced.

“Maybe what we should be working toward is seeing if we can get peer enforcement to work for the 25-foot policy before we move to having a peer policy that would enforce no smoking whatsoever,” she said.

With smoking zones, there are also the issues of policies on where they would be built, who would be in charge of designating smoking zones, if signs and benches are involved and where money would come from.

Justin Boren, GPSA president, said in an e-mail that GPSA’s stance is against smoking bans and designated smoking areas, so he hopes the administration will work with GPSA to enforce existing rules and regulations.

“I am sure that, collectively, the GPSA and USG leadership could come to a collaborative solution that benefits ASU and remains true to the positions of both USG and GPSA,” Boren said.

Reach the reporter at

Continue supporting student journalism and donate to The State Press today.

Subscribe to Pressing Matters



This website uses cookies to make your experience better and easier. By using this website you consent to our use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie Policy.