Possible smoking ban stirs debate

Lori Allen/The News A student smokes a cigarette outside of Faculty Hall.
Lori Allen/The News A student smokes a cigarette outside of Faculty Hall.

Lori Allen/The News
A student smokes a cigarette outside of Faculty Hall.

A ban on cigarettes and other types of tobacco smoking on campus could be a possibility for Murray State.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky bases its smoking legislation on local ordinances and each city or county has the choice of ordinances it places.

D.J. Irvine, senior from Paducah, Ky., said he thinks a smoking ban on campus would be going too far.

“I try my best to be polite to people around me,” Irvine said. “If someone is walking by me, I don’t take a puff and blow it out right in front of them.”

Irvine said he respects that some people do not want to breathe smoke and tries to stay on the safe side by assuming no one wants to breathe it.

He said for the most part, people who smoke on campus are respectful about it.

“When you’re outside I think it’s a little bit ridiculous to impose a ban,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with smoking bans when it comes to indoors, but outdoors is ridiculous.”

The Student Government Association and the Board of Regents is researching the issue to gain further information on whether or not to ban smoking.

SGA President Michael Dobbs said there will be a significant amount of input from sources to confirm whether any type of smoking ban is necessary.

“The final approval will have to come from the Board of Regents,” Dobbs said. “The SGA has a committee in place to represent the students and from what I understand the insurance and benefits committee for the University is also investigating the possibilities.”

Dobbs said he was unsure as to how the topic was brought up in the first place, but he assumes it was a health issue as well as an appearance issue.

Dobbs said he guesses that if a smoking ban is imposed on campus it will apply to either all of University property or at least the main campus for the sake of being able to enforce the ban.

Eric Baldwin, freshman from Cunningham, Ky., said he does not have a strong opinion toward an overall ban of smoking on campus, but he believes something should be done to regulate smoking on University property.

“There have been multiple times when I walk out of a building on campus after class and I am flooded with a cloud of smoke from smokers who stand right outside the doors,” Baldwin said. “I don’t think all smokers abuse their habit, but the ones who do make it uncomfortable for people like me who don’t smoke and don’t like to breathe in secondhand smoke.”

Baldwin said he tries to avoid secondhand smoke as much as he can, but sometimes there is no way to avoid it. He said he does not think he should be the one who has to go out of his way.

“I think placing designated smoking areas away from places on campus that have high traffic would be a sufficient way to solve this problem,” he said.

Stephanie Patterson, senior from St. Louis, Mo., said she does not think a campus-wide smoking ban would necessarily be a good thing.

“Murray is clearly a city that supports smoking. I mean, the city is surrounded by tobacco farms,” Patterson said. “It is strange to come from St. Louis that does not allow smoking anywhere but bars, and the city of Murray allows it in a lot of places.”

She said she understands and respects the different attitudes on smoking but that a complete ban on campus, rather than a ban on certain areas, would be ineffective.

“I think putting a ban on smoking within a certain distance to entrances and exits of buildings would be a good idea though; that way people would be able to just sit outside a building without walking through a cloud of smoke.”

 

Story by Alex Mahrenholz, Staff writer