By: Elan Waite
With a week of enforcement behind it, the tobacco ban is in full effect at VSU.
Campuses in Georgia have gone smoke free and the reaction to the new policy varies. On Oct. 1, VSU enforced the smoking ban put into place by University System of Georgia Board of Regents.
According to the ban, all forms of tobacco products are banned on properties owned, leased, rented or in the possession of USG.
The ban is in place for students, faculty, staff, contractors, subcontractors and visitors. The ban relies on community members to enforce the policy and let those who may smoke on campus know that it is banned.
Booths were set up on the pedestrian mall, the University Center and the Student Union on Oct.1. Different organizations signed up to sit at the tables, where educational pamphlets, interactive games and enticing prizes were being offered.
“Trivia has facts about smoking and how much it costs and if you get it right you get to enter in a raffle,” Sinete Davis, junior human capital performance major, said. “You can win a $40 bookstore card or a CVS card.”
It doesn’t take just games and a raffle to become a smoke-free campus, however. It takes time.
“They say it takes three years to change a culture,” SGA president, Tyler Barker, said. “This is definitely a culture change not even from a student body stand point but student faculty and staff. All three of these parties play a part in enforcing this policy.”
Barker and the SGA are working at changing the culture on campus to help enforce the ban.
“We are working on a promotional video to encourage people to not smoke, just something educational and entertaining to help with the advocacy of the policy,” Barker said.
However, not everybody is in favor of the ban and there are mixed feelings around campus.
“As far as smoking on campus goes, I don’t see why they just don’t make a smoking area for it,” Perry Davis, junior English major, said. “You literally will end up going to Drexel Park and turning that place into a giant ashtray.”
Others are looking forward to the ban for health and personal reasons.
“I am all for the smoking ban,” Tom Manning, chemistry professor, said. “I’ll point out that I have had a couple members from my immediate family die from smoking cigarettes so I don’t see the added value to them at all, if they’re rid from our society forever that would be a good thing.”
With those who support the ban and those who are against it, there are those who work to find loopholes in the policy.
Katherine Burke, sophomore biology major, has looked up ways to be able to smoke near but not on campus.
“People are going to complain about everyone smoking on the sidewalk,” Burke said. “I even researched, the creek is city property but the bridge isn’t, so you have to be in the creek to be able to smoke.”
It will take a few weeks before the VSU community will see the full effects of this ban and many are still anxiously waiting to see how it pans out.