College Prepares for Campus-Wide Smoking Ban
Currently, HFCC students may smoke on campus as long as they are at least 50 feet away from any building entrance. However, beginning January 1, 2012, smokers will need to invest in some walking shoes because that’s when the college plans to go smoke free, campus-wide.
College officials want to begin this new smoking ban for the betterment of all faculty and students. “We’re making this ban in the best interest for our students,” said Director of Campus Safety Mark LaBerge, “We’re hoping the smoking ban will help create a cleaner, healthier campus for everyone.”
All three HFCC campuses will be smoke free. The campus on Evergreen Road will have two designated areas for smokers, which have yet to be determined. The only other place smoking will be allowed on campus is inside of a student’s automobile.
“Are people going to be upset? Absolutely, there will be some people who will be very irritated,” said LaBerge. “At first, people will probably be more edgy, cranky and irritated. I’m not a smoker, but I sympathize with those who are.”
Campus security plans to implement the smoking ban with a progressive system of enforcement. First-time offenders will receive a warning from campus security and their name will be put into a campus database. A second offense will end up with a loss of campus privileges. Multiple offenses may result in a student suspension, according to LaBerge.
HFCC vice president Marjorie Swan said that the college wants to do what it can to help smokers, so campus personnel will pass out pamphlets with ways to help them quit. The college is also looking into distributing nicotine patches and providing smoking cessation programs.
Former College Board Trustee Mary Petlichkoff estimates about 25 percent of HFCC’s students are smokers. This does not include the faculty members who smoke.
The smoking ban has received mixed reactions from students. Many did not even know that there was a smoking ban to be in effect come January. Other students are very happy to hear about this new law.
HFCC student Kari Porembiak, 20, said, “I’m glad to hear about this new smoking ban. I hope it gets enforced unlike the rule we have now. I hate the smell of smoke, so not having to walk through the smoke clouds on the way to my class will be wonderful.”
HFCC will become the tenth community college in Michigan to have a campus-wide smoking ban, and the University of Michigan went smoke-free this past year. The HFCC Board of Trustees unanimously approved the ban in April.
Many students question the college’s ability to enforce a campus-wide ban. On any given day, students can be seen smoking all over campus, including areas which are supposed to be smoke-free. Some students say they even see campus security officers smoking within 50 feet of a building entrance. Obviously, the current rule is not being strictly enforced.
However, LaBerge said that security is taking the ban very seriously. “If we are going to have a smoking ban, we need to have teeth in the enforcement,” LaBerge said. “We tell students to remember the three Es: Engineer a campus plan, Educate the people and Enforce the ban.”
LaBerge said security does not plan to add any new officers to help enforce the ban.
Some students have complained that there has been very little publicity about the new ban. With less than a month to go, the college has not made much of an effort to get the word out, according to some. The HFCC web site home page mentions the campus will be smoke-free on January 1; however, many students still are unaware of the ban.
HFCC hopes that all smokers will respect the rule and realize that HFCC is just one more place where smoking is now prohibited.