A UA freshman is joining students in an attempt to better the campus by pushing for a ban on tobacco and smoking. Jesse Davis noticed the copious amount of tobacco and cigarette use on campus while walking to classes. “The amount of tobacco use on campus here at UA is obscene,” Davis said. “Especially smoking. We need to make a move toward a tobacco-free campus.” Davis is now joining Zac McMillian of the First Year Council and Speaker of the SGA Senate Ryan Flamerich to push for a ban on tobacco use on campus.
The University does have a policy prohibiting smoking inside any buildings on campus, put in place in 1991. Davis said that every student who is interested in his or her health should be concerned with the use of tobacco on campus.
Many businesses in Tuscaloosa prohibit the use of tobacco indoors. Taylor Kean, a sophomore majoring in engineering, disagrees with the idea of a ban.
“I don’t think a ban is necessary on campus,” said Kean, who is not a regular tobacco user. “People should have the right to smoke where they want to smoke. Smoking indoors shouldn’t be allowed, of course. Placing a ban on using tobacco outside is going against the rights of students.”
Other Southeastern Conference schools have placed a ban on smoking and tobacco use already, including Kentucky, Florida and Auburn. The ban on all tobacco products on Kentucky’s campus was placed on Nov. 19, 2009, according to the policy on UK’s website. In Florida, the ban includes greek houses on campus as well.
Auburn does not have quite the tight ban Kentucky and Florida have, but the policy states that university officials reserve the right to regulate smoking during university-sponsored events. Tobacco product use is also banned in the interior of any on-campus buildings.
More than 300 universities across the United States have enacted a ban on tobacco use, and, according to Davis, it’s time for Alabama to be added.
According to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights website, college students are one of the main targets for tobacco industries, who seek to add customers from college campuses by advertising an escape from stress.
Deaths related to tobacco use have numbered more than 12 million in the years 1964 to 2004, according to the Above the Influence website. In 2010, more than 220,000 new cases of lung cancer were reported. More than 150,000 Americans died as a direct result of the disease. Second hand smoke also plays a major factor in health problems in the U.S., with around 3,000 deaths from lung cancer happening each year in adult nonsmokers due to secondhand smoke.