Editorial: Smoking policy a good start

Review Editorial Staff

Washburn University’s new smoking policy will go into effect Sept. 1 on the campus in an effort to make the campus a cleaner, healthier place.

The new policy lays out a set of 10 designated areas on campus for tobacco and vape use. These spots consist of no-cover benches complete with ashtrays and trash cans for proper disposal of cigarettes.

Originally, the policy was to install a full ban on tobacco and vape products on campus, but after a very close vote amid the faculty senate and staff council, the decision was made to pass the policy and set the designated smoking areas. The sidewalks on the perimeter of the campus are also technically property of the City of Topeka and are okay to use tobacco products on.

The call for a reform on tobacco use on campus came after multiple complaints of cigarette butts left lying around the campus grounds. It’s understandable that students and faculty alike would appreciate a clean campus and the staff in charge of cleaning the campus grounds would also appreciate less litter.

While this policy may be effective for curbing smoking pollution and litter, the section that also restricts vapor delivery systems and chewing tobacco seems unfair. The policy‘s announcement flier makes it clear the university is not asking anyone to quit smoking, but is attempting to make a healthier campus. While this helps the restriction on chewing tobacco make sense, restricting vapor delivery systems is punishing students and faculty who may actually be trying to quit smoking for the same cause as the university. It would make sense to tweak the policy to be less restrictive of vapor delivery systems if the university is to support students and faculty who want to be healthier.

Last year, a policy was in effect that allowed students and faculty to smoke at any area 10 feet away from campus buildings. This policy proved ineffective, as some smokers abused the policy’s difficulty in enforcement.

It is clear the new smoking policy is a step up from last year’s policy, but this new policy could still use some tweaking. Washburn is on the road to a cleaner and healthier campus, but must also be more inclusive of all students with differing lifestyles.