No more ifs, ands or cigarette butts

Chapman could become a smoke-free campus as of Jan. 4, 2016, according to an update to the student conduct code proposed by student government Nov. 2.

The policy, written by Student Government President Josh Nudelman and Dodge College of Film and Media Arts Senator Henry Callander, states that health risks associated with secondhand smoke have caused Chapman to consider prohibiting smoking on all university-owned property. Student government members have submitted the proposal to senior staff.

“This is tangible,” Callander said. “We have talked about it for months. We have talked about this being implemented, (and) we’ve talked about it in meeting and outside meeting … It’s a really big step for our campaign. This is a really big push. It’s a healthy choice to make our campus smoke-free.”

Callander has been working on this campaign throughout the semester. In September, he distributed a survey, which showed that 78.1 percent of 600 students were in favor of a tobacco-free campus, 16.4 opposed it and 5.5 percent were impartial. Since the beginning of the semester, he and Nudelman have been drafting possible policy revisions, which were submitted for review to senior faculty and President Jim Doti.

Graphic by Megan Abba

Graphic by Megan Abba

Chapman’s current smoking policy states that students 18 years and older are permitted to smoke in designated smoking areas. They cannot smoke in university-owned buildings, courtyards and sidewalks or within 25 feet of any building entrance.

The revised policy, which would not take effect until January, states that cigarettes are prohibited, as well as electronic cigarettes and vaporizers.

“We really tried to encompass all aspects … and look to the future,” Nudelman said. “Because five years ago, (people) had no idea what vapes were. They weren’t a thing.”

Student government is teaming up with the student health center to include a credible medical backing to the campaign. Although Callander and Nudelman understand that student government can’t tell students to stop smoking, they just want to make sure the smoking does not happen on campus.

“We just really want people to (smoke cigarettes) away from main campus,” Callander said. “You know you don’t want to be in the Piazza and be subjected to that when the Piazza is literally the one main place that everybody is.”

According to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, as of Oct. 2, there are at least 1,620 smoke-free campuses.

As a way to get more feedback from students and discuss the new changes, student government will table in the Attallah Piazza.

“So much of Chapman’s policies are not discussed with students, and so this could be a way of us to bring it to the students,” Nudelman said. “It’s one thing for us to say, ‘Chapman University is smoke-free.’ We can say it all we want but unless we have the backing and the enforcement, it means nothing.”
Mikaela Grumbach, a junior strategic and corporate communication major, did not know about the proposed policy changes, and wondered if students were allowed to vote on the initiative and voice their opinions.

“I think that would be totally ridiculous to ban smoking on campus,” Grumbach said. “It’s not like people are smoking inside. People are doing it outside. There are a fair amount of people that smoke (electronic cigarettes) and vapes, and asking them to go off campus just to smoke is a little absurd in my opinion.”

According to Callander, studies show that international students smoke more than students who are born in the United States, which caused him to speak to Susan Sams, the international student and scholar services coordinator.

“I am not stereotyping by saying that international students do smoke more, because it has been proven that they do,” Callander said. “And that’s fine because it’s just a different culture. They just need to know that they are going to be in this culture now. There’s going to be change.”

To prevent butts from littering the sidewalks outside of campus, Callander proposed using student government funding to install ashtrays.

He understands that imposing consequences for violating the policy would be difficult, and explained that students who are repeat offenders would be sent to the dean’s office, and faculty offenders will be sent to Human Resources.

“I think that if (student government is) trying to initiate healthier student behavior, then the effort is commendable, but the administration must be ridiculous to think that (prohibiting smoking) will deter smoking on campus,” said Piyush Choubey, a senior business administration major. “If they’re tired of the smoke and smell, then actual designated areas would be way more beneficial.”

If the policy does not pass with student government and senior staff, Callander and Nudelman will create a petition online for people to sign in favor of the initiative.

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