The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Tobacco policy revisions approved

On Monday, May 3, the Student Senate at UW-Eau Claire passed a resolution which revises the current tobacco policy on campus. Twenty-two senators voted for the measure, while six voted in opposition.

The new regulations may be implemented before September 1, if the resolution is approved by Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich or the University Senate, former Sen. Patrick Bloecher said.

Bloecher, the author of the resolution, said the new policy uses the former as a sort of foundation on which to build off of. The former policy, which states that smoking is not allowed in any university owned or leased building or in any location that is less than 25 feet away from a residence hall, is still included in the resolution.

Under the new regulations, smoking will only be permitted in university-owned parking lots, excluding street-side metered parking, in established smoking areas on upper-campus or in outdoor areas within 25 feet of university loading docks. Smoking will become prohibited on all other university-owned properties. These properties will include outdoor-athletic, academic, administrative and facilities management buildings and in university owned vehicles.

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All smoking receptacles will also be removed from non-designated smoking areas.

Enforcement of the revised policy will depend upon the cooperation of faculty, staff, students and campus visitors, according to the resolution document.

“People were upset with walking through clouds of smoke to get to buildings,” Bloecher said. “They wanted to see something change.”

Bloecher presented the resolution at the meeting. In his presentation, Bloecher explained that, if passed, the revisions would reduce second-hand smoke exposure to non-smokers and provide an environment that could help those trying to quit smoking to be successful.

Bloecher cited a nursing and environmental health study conducted at UW-Eau Claire in 2008 as a reason for the proposed revision.

Of the 3,548 respondents – 2,973 students, 192 faculty and 318 staff members – 57 percent of students said the campus should become tobacco free, 34 percent said it should not and 9 percent were unsure if smoking should be prohibited. Of the 192 faculty members, 66 percent said the campus should become tobacco free, 24 percent said it should not and 10 percent were unsure. The 318 staff members who responded answered 64 percent, 27 percent and 9 percent respectively.

Another reason Bloecher gave for the revisions was from a 2006 Surgeon’s General report. The report stated that, “… scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke.”

The original resolution consisted of options that would make campus completely smoke free, a smoke-free academic sector or only permitting smoking in university parking lots. After some debate, the senate reached the compromise of allowing smoking in designated areas only.

Sen. Sarah Tweedale voted for the resolution and said she felt it was a good compromise.

“This limits the areas on campus pretty widely, but it’s still not hard to get to parking lots or established smoking areas, so I believe it doesn’t totally disenfranchise smokers … it also takes into consideration the rights of non-smokers to breathe clean air,” she said.

Sen. Jacob Kampen voted against the measure. Kampen, who said he had issues with the practicality of the revisions, also said he had a fundamental problem with the university limiting a legal substance.

“Personally, I don’t think it’s the job of the university to stop the students from smoking,” he said.

Kampen was also concerned about the removal of the cigarette receptacles and the littering he said would ensue afterwards.

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Tobacco policy revisions approved