Temple’s tobacco-free policy is just a pipe dream

The University’s smoke-free policy will not end tobacco use among students.

Temple University will ban all tobacco products from its United States campuses, President Richard Englert announced on Tuesday.

Use of all tobacco products, including cigarettes and nicotine delivery devices like Juuls, will be prohibited for all indoor, outdoor and adjacent sidewalks and walkways on Temple’s Main, Ambler, Harrisburg and Center City campuses.

This decision comes following recommendations from the Presidential Smokefree Campus Task Force, led by Laura Siminoff, the dean of the College of Public Health.

Earlier policies to deter tobacco use didn’t work very well. The task force tested the university’s standing policy that prohibited smoking within 25 feet of campus building entrances. Members found that more than half of people seen smoking on campus were less than 25 feet from these entrances.

University officials should use their time and effort to enforce their earlier, attainable policy to prohibit smoking within 25 feet of building entrances, before moving on a tobacco-free initiative.

This universal tobacco-free policy is a commendable dream, but nothing more. While Temple Police will have “compassionate” enforcement of the policy, it truly is impossible to become a totally tobacco-free campus. 

Cigarette smoking causing an estimated 480,000 deaths, including 41,000 secondhand smoke exposure deaths, each year, according to a 2017 Center for Disease Control and Prevention report. 

While we discourage our peers from using tobacco products, realistically, each student is an adult who makes decisions for themselves. 

Temple should focus on its earlier steps in reducing tobacco use on campus because the real change will need to come from students who enjoy cigarettes and Juuls.

1 Comment

  1. I have a few concerns about this new policy.

    1. Will on-campus stores be able to sell nicotine products? The language in the report that was released makes me think not… “The sale of tobacco and nicotine delivery devices will be prohibited on TU campuses, INCLUDING PRIVATELY OWNED RETAIL STORES.”

    2. Will there be designated spots around campus for smokers? Considering the university is so concerned with being “good neighbors,” I would think they would want to AVOID people walking to the edge of campus just to light up in someone’s residential area. That’s certainly not going to help the community relationship.

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