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At Iowa, smoking ban not terribly effective

From The Daily Iowan:

University of Iowa freshman Will Tapella said he smokes a pack of cigarettes a day — and he usually lights up outside Burge Residence Hall.

While smoking is banned on the University of Iowa campus, the 19-year-old said he has never received a citation. Generally, he said, there is only one police officer who has said anything to him outside Burge.

Smoking on the UI campus has been illegal for more than two years, but people lighting up on campus is still a common sight. The Smokefree Air Act went into effect July 1, 2008, and smoking on the UI campus became an offense carrying a $50 citation.

But the number of citations for smoking in a prohibited area has decreased since the ban was enacted. According to UI police, officers wrote 25 citations in 2009 for smoking in a prohibited area. Since the beginning of this year, they have written eight.

Public safety officers at UI say this is because more people are aware of the policy, but students are not so sure.

“I have never seen the police handle a situation,” said sophomore Nolan Petersen, 19. “It’s like a myth. I always hear of kids getting smoking tickets, but I’ve never seen it.”

Other students — both smokers and nonsmokers — agreed.

“This is a non smoking campus, and I see a lot of people smoking,” said freshman Kayla Beck, 19. “I’m concerned about their health and those around them.”

Since the ban, signs have gone up around campus including all building entrances and exits, in parking structures, and at other key points around campus. The signs list the fee for smoking on campus and a number to report someone.

Some Iowa students think that increased enforcement is the answer.

Some Oregon students (this one in particular) think spending a large chunk of a million dollars on a smoking ban that may or may not even be enforced at all is a waste of money and an infringement on student rights.

But maybe that’s just me.

  1. Michael G. says:

    “This is a non smoking campus, and I see a lot of people smoking,” said freshman Kayla Beck, 19. “I’m concerned about their health and those around them.”

    Here’s a hint to people like this: Try worrying about yourself instead of random strangers. What me or anyone else chooses to do with our lungs is none of your business, so stay out of it.

    I get why the designated smoking areas compromise makes sense. People don’t want to breathe secondhand smoke and should be able to avoid it by avoiding the designated areas, while smokers get to have their fix. Smoking bans just make violators out of otherwise law-abiding people and since the fine is the same no matter where you are smoking, anyone taking the risk is going to do it wherever they feel the need, damned if someone who doesn’t want to breathe it is around.

    As far as snitch calls go, it takes 7 minutes on average to smoke a cigarette. Try getting a cop there fast enough, especially if the smoker is walking. Good luck with that.

  2. Audrey Silk says:

    Rest assured, it’s not just you.

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