Smoking on campus: Acceptable or not?


Photo: Lyn Bryant/Iowa State Daily

Jackson Clouse, freshman in engineering, lights up outside of Friley Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Smoking is banned accross the ISU campus, so many student smokers take to the border areas.

Tommie Clark

Smoking has been a matter up for debate for decades. Colleges differ with rules and regulations with smoking on campus, but Iowa State is one of the colleges that has decided on a smoke-free environment and enforces it.

“It would be just like any other crime on campus. If officers were out and heard of it, then they can deal with it while also responding to reports and dispatching officers to the smoking complaint,” said Lt. Elliott Florer, of the ISU Police Department. “I think we do a good job enforcing it.”

Smoking is not necessarily seen as a “concern” at Iowa State, but it is seen often. Lawmakers passed the Smokefree Air Act back in 1988 that made smoking less of a concern.

According to the ISU Smoke-Free Campus Guidelines, this act was put in place “to protect employees and the general public from exposure to tobacco smoke.”

“I’m against smoking because I don’t want to breathe that in on my way to class,” said Hannah Koplin, freshman in pre-advertising.

The Smokefree Air Act prohibits smoking in public places, enclosed areas within places of employment and some outdoor areas.

“The only problem is we do a good job of notifying the campus community but not visitors,” Florer said. “Lots of what we do is education. We explain the Smokefree Air Act, what it is and what it means.”

“It is the policy of Iowa State University to comply with the Smokefree Air Act by declaring the entire university grounds and properties a Smoke-Free Campus,” according to the guidelines. “This policy applies to all university employees, students and visitors and covers all university owned, leased or operated vehicles, buildings, property and grounds under the control of the university.”

The grounds of the university include “parking lots, athletic fields, playgrounds, tennis courts and any other outdoor area under the control of the university.”

Although the act is in place, opinions still differ when it comes to choosing to smoke or not.

“I personally choose not to smoke tobacco,” said Paul Edwards, sophomore in hospitality management. “I do feel it is acceptable as long as second hand smoke is avoided.”

The ISU Police enforce the smoking regulations here on campus.

According to the guidelines, “Iowa State University police officers are responsible for routine patrol of the Iowa State University campus and may issue citations to a person who smokes in an area where smoking is prohibited on the grounds of the university.”

Not only police enforce the law; students can as well. If someone is seen smoking in a prohibited area, a smoking complaint form can be filed.

City streets and sidewalks, such as along Lincoln Way or Sheldon Avenue, are not included in the grounds of the university. Therefore smokers can smoke on the sidewalks surrounding those streets. However, on institutional streets within the campus, like Union Drive and Osborne Drive, smoking is not permitted, according to Inside Iowa State in an article by Diana Pounds, associate director of university relations.

Smoking is thought of in different ways, and everyone has their own opinion on the matter.

“I can’t stand it when girls smoke. I don’t want to be married to a girl that looks worse than Mick Jagger by the time she is 40,” said Jimmy Howard, freshman in agriculture business.