With the number of smoke-free campuses across the country nearly tripling since 2010, the question of implementing such a policy as part of the university’s next master plan has been raised by students and administrators.
While no official plan has been set in motion, multiple steps would have to be taken if Temple were to follow suit in the growing national trend, Jim Creedon, senior vice president for construction, facilities and operations, said.
“To take the campus smoke-free, I think we would need to have a lot of dialogue amongst the campus first, and kind of approach it very carefully and make sure the key constituent groups are supportive,” Creedon said.
Temple prohibits people from smoking inside university buildings, including residence halls and within a certain distance from classrooms.
Sophomore advertising major and former smoker Gabi Radcliffe said she believes making Temple smoke-free would be impractical and difficult to enforce.
“I don’t think people would go for it at all, or how it would be enforced,” Radcliffe said. “So many people here smoke cigarettes.”
As of this summer, there were 1,178 smoke-free college campuses in the U.S., a rise from 530 in July 2011 and 420 in July 2010, according to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights organization. Of these campuses, many of which are community colleges, 792 were 100 percent tobacco free.
There are 11 smoke-free college campuses in Pennsylvania, none of which include the four state-related institutions.
The increasingly popular move for colleges comes after the American College Health Association adopted its Position Statement on Tobacco on College and University Campuses in September 2009. This statement included a no-tobacco policy that “encourages colleges and universities to be diligent in their efforts to achieve a 100 percent indoor and outdoor campus-wide tobacco-free environment.”
According to the ACHA’s statement, 85 percent of college students described themselves as non-smokers.
As the weather gets colder, more students smoke closer to doorways and smoke entering the building poses an additional security threat, Creedon said.
“Our security guards are trying to keep track of who goes in and out to make sure we have a secure situation, and then they’re running out saying ‘Come on, we got to push it back from the building,’” Creedon said.
Smoking on campus is an environmental issue as well, Creedon said, when cigarette butts clutter the ground.
“I think I see more cigarette butts than I see smokers,” Creedon said.
Some students said there are alternative solutions and strategies to control smoking and the disposal of cigarettes.
Sophomore French major and current smoker Brianna Dougherty said there should be certain places on campus for smoking.
“Designated areas would probably be a better solution,” Dougherty said.
Senior English major Lisabeth Snyman, an on-and-off smoker, said both smokers and non-smokers should have their sides heard in the matter.
“You have to have a mutual respect,” Snyman said, who also supported the idea of designated smoking areas.
Senior psychology major Jake Pearlmutter, also a smoker, said placing a smoke-free label on Temple’s campus would be unreasonable because of the city life surrounding it.
“It’s better to make an argument to outlaw cigarettes because they’re bad for you,” Pearlmutter said.
Creedon agreed it would then become an issue of the city versus the campus. He said the rule would need to be specific, determining what would happen when passers-by walked through campus while smoking.
“As someone who lives in Philly, I think it’s unreasonable,” Pearlmutter said.
Logan Beck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.