Majority of students surveyed want a smoke-free campus

Graphic by Megan Abba

Graphic by Megan Abba

A majority of students are in favor of a tobacco-free campus, according to a survey that student government released to the student body Sept. 28.

The survey reported that 78.1 percent of students who took the survey want a smoke-free campus, 16.4 percent oppose it and 5.5 percent were impartial, or wrote in a different opinion.

Senators announced during the student government meeting on Oct. 2 that 600 students responded to the survey, which is about 10 percent of the undergraduate student body.

“We would love to make it a 100 percent smoke-free campus,” said Henry Callander, the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts senator. “I see other institutions and I feel that we are very far behind any kind of legislation like that on campus.”

The survey asks students to choose between implementing specific smoking zones and making Chapman a smoke- and tobacco-free campus. This includes chewing tobacco, using vaporizers and other tobacco products.

Students were also asked whether or not they smoke; the survey revealed that 89 percent do not smoke.

Smoking within 20 feet of the entryways and windows of public buildings has been prohibited since 2004, according to the California Environmental Protection Agency’s tobacco law.

“Chapman is such a small campus that technically, if you drew a line from (one entrance to another), Chapman’s campus would already (legally) be mostly smoke-free,” Callander said.

Josh Nudelman, president of student government expressed his support at a student government meeting on Sept. 25.

“If you see people in the smoke zone, you’re more likely to go join them and jump back into the spring of smoking because you see it happening,” Nudelman said. “When it is smoke-free, nobody is smoking on campus so you are forced to get better and not be reminded.”

In addition, Callander proposed working with the Orange County Health Care Agency to get donations of nicotine gums and patches to help smokers quit.

“Instead of targeting smokers or people who use tobacco, we want to put them in a place where we can help them get over the habit,” Callander said.

Gracie Truex, College of Performing Arts senator, said that she supports the collaboration with an outside organization to help smokers quit.

“I would not take that lightly because if people want to quit, it’s not like you chew gum once and you’re done,” Truex said. “You’re dealing with addiction, and I think that needs to be thought through more. Addiction can’t be solved with just nicotine gums and patches.”

One of the campaign’s consequences also includes an increase in littering in residential areas surrounding campus.
“I like the intention that you’re trying to help people, but I really think that there are going to be those who want to keep doing it,” said Mia Baybayan, student life committee chair. “If they can’t do it on campus, I’d figure that they would be (smoking) in the residential areas.”

In an effort to include the opinions of Chapman’s faculty and staff as well, Callander and Nudelman will be meeting with Cristina Giannantonio, faculty senate president, to discuss future plans.

“We want to make sure we are advocating for everyone and not just the majority,” Callander said. “The end goal is to put something in the student conduct code that says it’s a 100 percent tobacco-free campus.”

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