LETTER: Smoking ban should be gradual

Elizabeth Winkler

As much as I loathe smoking and my daily walk through the haze and cigarette butt trash at the entrance to Cherry Hall, I do not think a total campus smoking ban should be the next step.

A gradual approach makes more sense to me. First, I think we have never really effectively dealt with the concept of designated smoking areas. They are poorly labeled and poorly placed, and there is little signage to encourage people not to smoke in other areas. When I have pointed out the small sign on the front of Cherry Hall to smokers, they tell me they thought it was saying that you can’t smoke inside the building. I agree with them that the signage is vague at best.

I have politely asked smokers to move to other areas often and in all but one very rude case have had polite responses from those I have asked to move. However, it is not my job to stand there all day running off smokers, nor do I think law enforcement has sufficient staff to do it either.

Second, there is virtually no enforcement of the current rules at an official level, thus I can’t imagine that campus police will have the time or numbers to effectively stop people from smoking on the entire campus. Maybe a few minor cost tickets to violators of the current rule after some promotion and better signage would help make clear that this is a serious policy.

Let’s fix the system in place, and once we have that working well, we can talk about a campus-wide smoking ban.

Elizabeth Winkler

Assistant English professor