Not so smoke free campus

As a freshman entering Oswego State, I was required to sit through the necessary and drawn-out orientation session on the school’s drugs, alcohol, and tobacco policy. Fall 2015 is supposed to be Oswego State’s second semester as a completely smoke free campus but in reality, it is not. I am just a freshman, still getting adjusted and trying to figure out the difference between Lanigan and Mahar. But the orientation directors have made sure to point out that Oswego State is now a smoke-free campus.

For the two weeks that I have been here, I can say that I have seen at least 10 students smoking on campus.

Is enforcing a no smoking policy ineffective when upperclassmen have attended the school prior to the new regulation?

When is an appropriate time to implement such rule?

When I asked fellow freshmen on my floor if they noticed smokers on campus, they agreed that they have seen quite a few students smoking on campus throughout the week.  I understand that as a freshman, following the school’s policies in any area (whether it be plagiarism, the use of torrents and even the no smoking policy) is crucial in the beginning of our four year journey here.

I feel that underclassmen have a fear of messing up early on in the college process, and take the new regulation into serious consideration. Because upperclassmen attended Oswego while the campus allowed smoking, it may be difficult for smokers to acclimate to the new change.  However, should a penalty be placed on students found smoking within campus grounds, and if so, how should University Police handle it?

According to the health and safety section of the 2015-2016 Student Handbook, smoking and tobacco products are completely prohibited on campus, as well as on extended campus sites, college affiliated activities off campus, indoor and outdoor facilities and inside vehicles in parking lots around campus. Under the same section of the handbook, the university policy states that should a student violate the regulation, a warning will be given to said student and if violations continue, the Human Resources offices will refer to the matter. Eventually, if enough violations persist, the Dean of Students could get involved. The enforcement of this policy should be held with high regard, because the health and safety of students should be in the student body’s best interest.

Three of the leading causes of death, according to the Center for Disease Control and Protection are as follows: heart disease, cancer and chronic lower respiratory diseases, all of which can potentially affect a tobacco smoker.  The statistics do not stop there. If one does not use tobacco products, his or her chances of premature diseases are much lower than that of someone who uses tobacco products. There are many influences that affect the smoking and non-smoking communities, including the compelling and vibrant “truth” commercials, yet also many enticing magazine ads that further intrigue tobacco users.

Nevertheless, it is important to consider that the school took the initiative to condemn smoking and tobacco usage on its campus. Oswego State is on the right track, enforcing a smoke-free policy in order to keep students healthy and to change the stigma that is attached to the collegiate experience.