At the May 1 senate meeting, Campus Life Committee chair sophomore Victor Schultz and sophomore Senator Charlie Harned proposed holding a forum on Knox’s smoking policy.
“Colleges from Harvard to Michigan to UCLA either are tobacco-free or have tobacco-free initiatives on campus,” Harned said. “Obviously secondhand smoke is an issue, but a huge move in the anti-tobacco world is that of raising awareness towards third hand smoke.”
“Essentially, I believe going tobacco-free would look better for Knox from a public relations standpoint, and ultimately be much healthier than the current policy.”
Students and professors have posed complaints about smoking on campus. Some have called for moving ashtrays farther away from buildings. Among academic buildings, GDH may suffer the most problems, with smokers standing directly in front of the building.
Some also worry about the general risks of exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke. The latter is the residual nicotine and chemicals that can be found on indoor surfaces and people themselves, which can cause health issues.
“I have asthma, so it’s a problem for me when I am walking behind someone who is smoking,” freshman Mary Houlihan said. “I don’t believe in an all-out ban, but I think that specified smoking areas could be beneficial.”
A removal of smoking from campus completely isn’t the only option available, and President Teresa Amott has expressed concerns that a smoking ban would force smokers to cross accident-prone South Street frequently. Moving ashtrays could reduce the smoke that filters indoors. Another suggestion is the creation of a centralized smoking area on campus.
Senators suggested sending out a campus-wide poll and gathering students in a forum to discuss the student body’s stance on the smoking policy.