Three years after Georgia State’s campus wide smoking ban and a year since the University System of Georgia’s (USG) tobacco free policy, cigarette smoke and vape clouds are still being puffed out in smoky laughs across Georgia State’s campus.
Georgia State spokeswoman Andrea Jones said the university has no plans to further enforce the smoking ban beyond the policy, and without inherently defined borders to the campus, enforcing it is difficult.
“We try to build awareness in our community for the ban with posted signs and reminders to faculty, staff and students of programs to help with smoking cessation,” she said.
Emma Yelma, journalism major and non smoker, enrolled at Georgia State after the ban was implemented. She said people consider it a joke.
“I don’t think anyone cares,” she said. “I’ve heard multiple people talk about it, and when they bring it up in conversation, it’s to make fun of the ban because people still smoke.”
All Georgia State faculty, staff and students have a responsibility to help enforce the school policy. Individuals should remind smokers of the policy in a respectful fashion, according to the Georgia State Student Handbook.
Deputy Chief Carlton Mullis of the Georgia State University Police Department said the smoking ban is to be enforced by the university. However, he also said the department only enforces no smoking on campus.
“For instance if you’re standing in front of Langdale [on the sidewalk], that’s City of Atlanta, and you can smoke; if you’re in Library Plaza, that’s Georgia State, and you can’t smoke there,” he said.
Lauren McCullough, Georgia State biology major, said electronic cigarettes helped her quit tobacco cigarettes. She only smokes while on neighboring streets away from school buildings.
“With [Georgia] State, they own buildings and not streets, so if I’m walking down the street, they can’t tell me to stop smoking,” she said.
Like other students, McCullough smokes to relieve stress from school. She is aware of the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes.
“It has a little bit of nicotine, but it’s relaxing with school,” she said.
Liza Muccino, Georgia State sociology major, said she is aware of the smoking ban on campus, yet she smokes there at least twice a day.
“Georgia State enforced [the ban] when it was first implemented, but then people stopped yelling at me,” she said.
Diandra Canzius, Georgia State sociology major and smoker, said she believes the ban is important, but thinks enforcing it is difficult due to the openness of the campus.
“It makes sense, but with Georgia State being so open, what can you do?” she said.
Yelma said she thinks smoking is bad and feels bad for anyone who does.
“Smoking is bad and it kills people; we all know this. When I see someone smoking, I know they’re losing years off their life,” she said.
Canzius attributed her smoking to anxiety about school and work. She smokes at least three or four cigarettes a day.
“Right now, it gets me through the day. I have a lot of social anxiety when I’m out around a lot of people, and it calms me down. I have a history of panic attacks, and school’s stressful,” she said.
Sonja Roberts, from the USG Office of Communications stated that schools are responsible for filing policy violations with USG’s office, and according to Roberts, no school has filed.
“Our institutions are focused on wellness and not simply implementation of a policy,” Roberts said. “We have not had an appeal from violations of the Tobacco Free Campus policy, which is the mechanism for when the System Office would get involved in violations.”