BY JESSICA WEAVER
A growing number of colleges and universities in the United States are completely banning smoking on campus to make for a more healthy environment.
365 colleges and universities throughout the U.S have gone completely smoke free already, a few of which are located in Florida. The Charlotte County campus of the Fort Myers-based Edison Stat College became the first public college in the state to completely ban smoking, only allowing smoking in personal vehicles.
In January, Florida Atlantic University restricted smoking to 20 spots on its Boca Raton campus and they are striving to become completely smoke free in a year. Nova Southeastern University in Davie also recently limited smoking to 12 spots and colleges such as Palm Beach College and Broward College have created stricter smoking restrictions.
Larger universities are also joining this trend. The University of Miami has banned all smoking on its medical campus and in July smoking on the University of Florida campus will be completely prohibited. Already UF has already banned smoking in their stadium and medical facilities.
Figures from the State Legislature show that, 78 people in the state of Florida die each day from tobacco-related illnesses, more than 8 of the 78 are non-smokers.
By banning or limiting smoking on campuses, schools hope to protect nonsmokers from second hand smoke and to persuade smokers to quit. To help even more, UF, FAU, and other schools are going to offer smoking-cessation classes and aids to help quit smoking. The schools also hope to reduce litter and environmental concerns by reducing the amount of cigarettes around the campuses.
Most staff and students have gone along with these changes, but those who are against the new bans argue that it’s not up to colleges and universities to instill moral and character issues. Smoking is legal for adults in the United States and those opposed to the ban feel they have the right to smoke and the ban is unreasonable.
According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services 31% of college student smoke, but because of new restrictions numbers are expected to go down. If students or faculty violate the rules they will be faced with disciplinary actions. The goal of these new rules and regulations is to encourage smokers to refrain from smoking and make for a healthier environment.