SGA hopes USG tobacco ban will help enforce campus smoking ban

The Student Government Association’s (SGA) Smoke-Free Campus committee is currently making plans to enforce the smoking ban on Georgia State’s campus for the fall 2014 semester.

Gregory Lafortune, member of SGA’s Smoke-Free Committee and senator running for re-election for the School of Nursing, said
that the committee consists of people who feel strongly about the smoking ban on

“Once the news got out (of the University
Systems of Georgia banning smoking on all campuses in March 2014), everyone was excited in a
sense, because we (felt) like that would help us, as a newly formed committee,
actually be able to implement things,” Lafortune said.

In 2012, Georgia State banned smoking on campus. However, many students are still seen smoking in the plaza, outside of the library and as they walk to classes.

Some of these students are unaware that smoking is banned on campus.
Others feel as though the ban is not being enforced.

Carly Tritley, sophomore business major, smokes in Library Plaza.

Tritley said that she was unaware that Georgia State banned smoking on campus because she has never seen signs saying that smoking was prohibited.

I wouldn’t have known that [there was a smoking-ban on campus]. When I went to UGA
we had a smoking section; I knew there was a ban there,” Tritley said. “You would get stopped
if you were smoking on campus, and they would make you put out your cigarette
and tell you that there was a smoking section in a certain area.”

One of the plans of the Smoke-Free Campus committee is to get more signage on campus to make people aware that there is a smoking ban.

Allison Boyd, senator of the School of Nursing and member of the Smoke-Free Campus committee, said there is small signage on some of the doors around campus that reads, “Georgia State is a smoke-free campus,” but many people don’t notice the signs because they are so small.

She also said that the committee plans on getting bigger signs and the universal no smoking picture sign added to campus, specifically in Library Plaza.

Boyd also said that the first step to increasing compliance of the ban is to foster awareness in the Georgia State community.

“What we are doing a lot this semester is meeting and brainstorming and seeing what it is we can try to implement next semester,” Boyd said.

Senior and smoker Justin Brabson is also unaware of the smoking ban. Although he is unaware, he said he understands the concept behind the ban.

“If there is a ban, it would keep people healthy,” he said.

Brabson also said that when he smokes, he looks for a clear area to do so away from non-smokers.

Both Tritley and Brabson said that they don’t mind the ban, and they will smoke somewhere else when the ban is enforced.

Another thing that the Smoke-Free Committee plans on doing is meeting with the police forces to get help enforcing the ban. The committee would like their help with approaching students who aren’t complying with the ban and reminding them that Georgia State is a smoke-free campus.

Asking students to relocate is also a part of the enforcement plan.

Boyd said that the committee doesn’t want this to go as far as ticketing students or any other extreme measures of action.

“We don’t want the smoking ban to be anything that someone is hating and is upset about. We want it to be a community effort to improve the health of the students at Georgia State,” Boyd said.

Alex Cruz, a junior, said that he feels neutral about the ban because he thinks that it is a good way to prevent secondhand smoke. Cruz also said that he doesn’t think enforcing the ban will be successful.

“A lot of people already smoke and it is a habit for many students, and a habit is hard to break,” he said.

Senior Hannah Meyers said that she likes the smoking ban because it accommodates both smokers and non-smokers.

“I think it’s a good thing, because if there are designated areas [to smoke], it helps people who don’t want to be surrounded by smoke walk [ around campus without walking through the smoke while] giving other people who do smoke their own spots [to do so],” she said.

Meyers also said that she doesn’t think there will be success in enforcing the ban based on the way enforcement has been so far.

Boyd said that she does foresee challenges in enforcing the ban.

She said getting volunteers and constant involvement with senators, the police and other students will be one challenge with enforcement.

“I don’t see anything drastic happening anytime soon. I think it will take years to be fully enforced and for people to be compliant with it. It is going to be a process, because change takes time,” Boyd said. “People are going to be reluctant to give up something that they’ve been able to do on Georgia State’s campus.”

Lafortune also added that the committee is still discussing future plans of enforcing the ban.

He said that they don’t know exactly how
that is going to go just yet, but they are still discussing ideas implementation for next semester.

“As we continue to meet and gain supporters, I know we will find out what
to do,” Lafortune said.