Western Herald – Students weigh in on WMU as a smoke-free campus

Students weigh in on WMU as a smoke-free campus

Brysa Peters
News Reporter

Western Michigan University is on its way to becoming a tobacco-free campus, and students have weighed in on the measure.

Starting Sept. 1, 2014, Western Michigan University will become smoke-free. (Brysa Peters/Western Herald)

Starting Sept. 1, 2014, students, faculty and staff will no longer be able to smoke on WMU property. The decision was made the Dec. 5 Board of Trustees meeting, where the board approved the smoking ban.

“I support it,” said WMU student Chris Klinske. “I don’t smoke. Honestly, it’s just kind of annoying, especially since [smokers] mostly do it at the bus stop, and you know, you just have to stand there for ten minutes with somebody smoking next to you the entire time.”

As WMU becomes smoke-free, it joins the list of over 1,100 campuses across the nation that have banned tobacco use entirely.

Brittany Finkler said she is also on-board with the policy.

“I’m sure it’s great to have some places that aren’t filled with smoke for people. My family were smokers, so for me it’s not a big deal, but for people who can’t tolerate being around it, it’s probably good,” said Finkler.

In agreement, too, was fellow student James Hurley.

“I think it’s actually kind of a great thing, really. It’s good for public health. It’s good for the people who are smoking, to make them change their ways,” said Hurley.

However, WMU student Haley Rocha suggested other ways to control tobacco use on campus.

“I, personally, smoke sometimes, not that often. I think it would be cool if they maybe just restricted the smoking areas because it’s a public campus, and I feel like people should be allowed to smoke,” said Rocha.

Daniel Gaynor, who is also a sometimes-smoker, disagrees, and thinks having to walk the distance and leave campus to light up is worth it.

“I’m an occasional cigarette smoker, and I think it’s a good rule even though I have to go far away to smoke. On days when I am not smoking, I get annoyed when I have to walk through crowds of people with [someone] holding a cigarette. When [the smoke] gets in my face, it’s annoying,” he shared, readily.

But not all WMU students agreed with amending the policy.

“I think that it’s an infringement of our basic rights,” said Hannah Farlin. “I mean, we’re eighteen, legally, we’re allowed to do it. We’re aware of the health risks, and they already have us feet away from most buildings.”

However, Farlin said she understands why so many agree with the policy.

“Not everyone is a considerate smoker,” said Farlin.

Friend Bianca Dhall nodded in agreement, and added, “It’s legal so I don’t see a point to [the new policy]. If I’m here all day, on campus, and I can’t have a cigarette, I’m going to freak out. I won’t be able to focus in class.”

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