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Kent State committee recommends campus-wide tobacco bans (with poll)

Issue requires trustee approval before taking shape

By Jeremy Nobile | Staff Writer Published: September 25, 2013 4:00 AM
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Devon Workman and Eliott Golod think a campus-wide smoking ban at Kent State University would be "ridiculous."

The 18-year-old Kent State freshmen, who live in Koonce Hall, say they're conscientious about their habit. They don't smoke indoors. They respect the 20-foot policy from building entrances, and they make sure their butts find the garbage can.

"If someone doesn't like it, I'm not going to do it around them," Golod said. "I think we're pretty considerate about it."

Workman and Golod are in a minority of Kent State students who use tobacco, according the results of a nearly year-long comprehensive survey conducted by the university's Tobacco-Free Campus Advisory Committee, which is recommending sweeping bans of all tobacco products across Kent State's eight-campus system.

Responses were collected from 8,302 Kent State-affiliated individuals, or roughly 17 percent of the all Kent State students, faculty and staff. Of those surveyed, about 21 percent said they use tobacco in some form, according to the report. The largest sub-group of respondents comprised undergraduate students.

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Kent State President Lester Lefton charged the committee with researching the pros and cons of a tobacco ban in response to a recommendation from the Ohio Board of Regents made in July 2012 that all public university campuses across the state become tobacco-free zones in the interest of public health.

Greg Jarvie, Kent State vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, is one of the co-chairs of the 20-person committee.

Jarvie said the mission was to present information on the topic, gauge the pulse of Kent State individuals and make recommendations on how to implement a tobacco ban, should the university decide to.

A ban could promote better public health, but the biggest roadblock would be enforcement, he said.

"We know that it would be easier said than done," Jarvie said. "It's going to take some initiative."

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Any ban would need passed by Kent State trustees.

Madison Jordan, 19, a sophomore and non-smoker, said she grew up in an anti-smoking household. She hates being caught in the draft of a smoker's second-hand puffs whether eating or walking to class and "totally" supports a tobacco ban on Kent STate campuses.

"I get it's hard because you can't just tell someone what to do," said Jordan, a nutrition major. "but smoking is an inconvenience for a lot of people, I think."

Workman and Golod said they believe enforcement of a ban would be impossible. They also said they would probably find somewhere to sneak a smoke on campus.

"I think if we'd have to walk off campus to have a cigarette, that's just ridiculous," Workman said. "Why should I have to go hide to smoke a cigarette?"

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or jnobile@recordpub.com

Facebook: Jeremy Nobile, Record-Courier

Twitter: @jnobile_RPC


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ramela Sep 25, 2013 11:03 AM

I don't smoke, but this is getting ridiculous. All these institutions that want to ban smoking and not hire smokers should not benifit from the all the money that is generated from the tax on cigarettes. You don't want to allow smokers to smoke on your property? Then you shouldn't get money from the taxes on cigarettes.

redleg6 Sep 25, 2013 7:32 AM

"A ban could promote better public health, but the biggest roadblock would be enforcement", he said.

The students wouldn't get winded when they walk to the bars in Kent.