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LCC Goes Smoke-Free

Lane Community College has chosen to ban smoking on their main campus, save for four designated smoking stations on the perimeter. The University of Oregon has also been exploring a tobacco-free campus, but have not yet come to a decision on whether, when and how to implement. According to surveys on the LCC campus, the smoking ban has had overwhelming support, but there are some students that are still frustrated with the decision. From the Register-Guard:

Jessica Rainbow, a business major, said the college initially argued that the ban was needed to prevent litter and only changed to a health argument later. She said the move will be hard on students who smoke because they’re already under enough pressure with schoolwork and rising tuition costs.

“There’s just so much stress,” Rainbow said, adding that smoking breaks during her pre-calculus class help her relax and concentrate. “Now I just have to hold it in and hope I don’t freak out on someone.”

“We felt like there was really the need for some accommodation of limited, designated smoking spots on the perimeter,” [Kate Barry, vice president for academic and student affairs at LCC] said. “But that would still mean the people in the core campus were not coming into contact with secondhand smoke.”

Even so, smokers used terms such as “discrimination” and “segregation” in their reactions to the change. They also worry about safety because of all the traffic in the parking lots, and say the smoking areas will be too distant for students who only have a short break between classes.

A survey conducted last year at the University of Oregon by the Smoke-Free Task Force also showed that a large majority of students were in support of mitigating smoking on campus, but the support was focused more towards designated smoking areas rather than a total smoke-free campus. You can find the Smoke-Free Task Force’s report to UO Vice President of Finance and Administration Francis Dyke here.

As the situation stands right now, the logistical questions are too great to really implement any change at the UO. I am of the personal belief that the first step should be to enforce the rules that exist currently — most specifically, City of Eugene ordinance states that there shall be no smoking within 25 feet of an entrance to a public building, and that is most definitely not enforced at the UO.

Incidentally, CJ Ciaramella and I started a student group called the Coalition of On-Campus Smokers (COCS), a group of individuals who are concerned about a smoke-free campus and are looking to implement more practical solutions to the litter problem that on-campus smoking creates. We will be having our third smoke-in and cigarette cleanup on Thursday, May 27 at 1pm in the EMU Amphitheater to protest the decision on the LCC campus. Bring things to smoke — cigars, hookah, cigarettes, pipes, whatever you feel. Let your voice be heard, even if it’s scratchy.

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