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University officials say they can’t enforce the smoking ban

Georgia State Police Department and the Tobacco Committee say they can’t stop students from smoking on the university’s smoke-free campus.

According to Sergeant Ware of the Georgia State Police Department, the reason why law enforcement doesn’t enforce the ban is simple.

“The police department cannot enforce the smoking ban because smoking is not against the law,” Ware said.

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Ware said she believes the Tobacco Committee is responsible for enforcement, but Dr. Gil Lee Barber, co-chair of the committee, said they cannot do anything either.

“Our charge was education about the policy, not enforcement,” Barber said.

Lanette Brown, associate dean of students, said the Unversity handles smoking violations just like they would any other code of conduct violation.

“What happens is we follow up through the student code of conduct when there is a report of a violation,” she said.

Brown said the dean of students does not patrol campus grounds looking for violators, but once an issue is brought to them they investigate based on the evidence provided. She said charges and sanctions are based on each individual situation.

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A smoking ban was implemented at Georgia State in 2012 following a vote by the school senate, but students say nothing is being done about smoking on campus.

Brandon M. Black, a student at Georgia State, said he wishes the university would do more to enforce the ban. He said he confronts smokers on campus occasionally but they usually just ignore him and walk away without putting out their cigarette.

“Every time I leave the library it’s like walking into a cloud of smoke.It’s really hard on Courtyard Tuesdays and Thursdays,” Black said.

Black said the smoking is especially hard on him because he has asthma. He said he would be willing to volunteer to help the Tobacco Committee enforce the ban.

But Barber said at this time there is no official committee of volunteer enforcers.

“As a community member you can police, but I am not aware of any volunteer committee,” Barber said.

The Tobacco Committee’s efforts include participating in campus events such as Panther Welcome and placing signage around campus to inform students of the ban.

“We were given the responsibility to look into signage and having a presence during campus events to make students aware of the tobacco cessation services we have on campus,” Barber said.

1 Comment

  1. “Black said the smoking is especially hard on him because he has asthma.” and noted in particular the problem of encountering smoke when walking in and out of buildings like the library.

    I have a solution that would help you Mr. Black, as well as others who feel the same way. There is no sound reason why the University shouldn’t designate a few comfortable, exhaust ventilated, indoor areas where smokers and their friends could relax, study, and chat together so that they wouldn’t be standing around building exits.

    Simple problem, simple solution! Would you be willing to work for that sort of thing on your campus? Google “V.Gen5H” to read my “Lies Behind The Smoking Bans” and consider printing it out and sharing it on the campus to help move the school toward a more rational and happy approach to the issue for all of its students.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “TobakkoNacht — The Antismoking Endgame”

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