Students voice their opinions of potentially becoming a tobacco-free campus
As universities around the nation and throughout the state have taken the initiative to become tobacco-free campuses, some people think if Louisiana Tech wants to join the trend, it will cause a great debate.
Jennifer Haneline, regional manager of the Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living, said she believes Tech can join the other universities in being tobacco free.
“Louisiana Tech University can be a tobacco-free campus because it is a leader in addressing the health of its students and promoting healthy living,” Haneline said. “By taking the initiative, Tech will be promoting the idea that students can use their education for as long as possible because they won’t be doing things that are going to cut their lives short.”
The Louisiana Campaign for Tobacco-Free Living (TFL) is a statewide tobacco control program funded by a state excise tax on tobacco passed in 2002.
TFL’s mission is to implement and evaluate comprehensive tobacco control initiatives that prevent and reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
“Secondhand smoke that comes from tobacco products affects the health of people that have any kind of lung disorders, and it also affects children because they are more active, which causes them to breath particulates in deeper,” Haneline said.
TFL campaign goals are to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, prevent initiation of tobacco use among youth, to promote tobacco cessation among youth and adults and to facilitate effective coordination of all tobacco control and prevention initiatives throughout the state of Louisiana.
A comprehensive tobacco-free policy not only affects the health of people walking around breathing in secondhand smoke, but also the marketing strategies tobacco companies can use.
Tobacco companies will not be able to promote products on campus and lure in students with enticing campaigns.
“Research shows that if people don’t start smoking by the time they are 25, it is very unlikely that they will pick it up,” Haneline said. “About 5 percent start after that age. So we want to keep our college kids off tobacco so that they don’t get a habit and get addicted to it.”
Some students and employees agree with Haneline that being tobacco-free is a good idea.
Macey Canerday, a freshman environmental science major, said she would be for the initiative because it will help halt students from smoking since they won’t be in that type of environment.
“I’m for tobacco-free living,” said Canerday. “It prevents students from smoking.”
Like Canerday, Aramark employee Antonio Holland, a smoker, thinks Tech taking the initiative to be a smoke-free campus is a positive thing.
“I would be alright with not being able to smoke during work breaks because it could help me quit smoking,” Holland said.
Although some agree with Tech taking the initiative, several students and workers do not agree with being told they cannot smoke on campus.
Garred Albert, a senior aviation major, said he thinks not being able to smoke where you want is a violation of his rights; however, he believes the ban is good for the overall public.
“I think it’s OK because we are a public institution, but we, the student body, should be allowed to vote onwhether our campus should be tobacco-free,” Albert said.
Similar to Albert, horticultural assistant James Garr said he is against it because as a grounds workers he is constantly outside and smoking is his getaway from stress.
“If Tech becomes a tobacco-free environment, it will make my job harder because breaks aren’t long enough for me to go off campus to smoke,” Garr said.
Like any other decision that impacts the student body there are those against and for a cause then there is those who are bias.
Anthony Nana, sophomore finance major, is one of those students who do not see an impact from either side.
“I don’t care whether we are tobacco-free or not because I don’t spend much time on campus with classes only three days out of a week,” Nana said.
If Tech takes the initiative it will join other universities like Louisiana State University (academic campus only), Southern University System and many more. ”
“Being tobacco free sends a clear message that Louisiana Tech cares about its students health,” Haneline said.
Email comments to kms...@latech.edu.