Recent concerns have been raised regarding the smoking situation on the campus of ETSU. Legislation is currently being considered by the SGA that would include setting up designated smoking areas around campus. Dalton Collins, president of the Student Government Association, suggests that the current rules are unfair and that they place an unnecessary burden on smokers. ”The smoking policy at ETSU is one that is unfair to every person who works, resides and pursues higher education on this campus,” Collins said.
“By advertising a policy which bans all tobacco use except in the privacy of one’s personal vehicle, ETSU has created a regulation which is unfair to smokers as it requires them to walk, in some cases, extreme distances to consume a legal product.”
Due to the lack of enforcement of the smoking ban, non-smokers often feel powerless when filing complaints about second-hand smoke.
“With no enforcement of the policy, non-smokers are left with little recourse for complaints and violators go unpunished,” Collins said. “This has led to blatant disregard for university policy and the use of tobacco products in areas that are inconsiderate of non-smokers and, indeed, in violation of Tennessee law. The behavior continues to worsen with each semester as smokers continue to overcome a ‘fear’ of disciplinary action for their violation.”
The implementation of designated smoking areas brings into question the concept of the “smoke-free campus.” However, according to the legislation, the designated smoking areas would still be in compliance with the Non-Smoker Protection Act and the Tennessee Annotated Code.
There would also be a buffer zone created of no less than six feet between the smoking areas and frequently used paths to reduce the threat of secondhand smoking hazards.
The purpose behind these actions is to create a comfortable learning environment for all parties involved and to alleviate any tension that may be building between smokers and non-smokers.
The SGA has been working for the last two years to get designated smoking areas implemented and for the current rules regarding smoking to be better enforced.