Twosenators plan to introduce a bill by the end of the semester proposing a campus-wide smoking ban.
ASG Senators Dallen Terrell and Brice Loving initiated discussion about a smoke-free campus in the middle of the fall semester with a Facebook group and online poll.
Loving calls himself and Terrell the “brains” behind the initiative, as the two have formed a committee and split the necessary duties of implementing the idea.
Loving, spokesman for the smoke-free campus proposal said the driving force behind the ban is secondhand smoke and its side effects. Loving cited recent studies associating secondhand smoke with heart attacks in older people, saying the number has decreased in areas where smoking has been banned.
The initiative has the support of Emilio Carranco, director of the Student Health Center, who is expected to address the ASG senate in April to discuss possible implementation a campus-wide ban.
Students opposed to a potential ban are disgruntled.
“I’m against the smoking ban because it’s an infringement of personal liberty and violates the equal protection clause,” said Brad Schmidt, chairman of the Young Conservatives of Texas. “YCT is against the statewide smoking ban since it has been proposed. People shouldn’t be told what they can and can’t do.”
Schmidt, along with the organization’s secretary Michael Green, is organizing a group of students against the ban, in addition to starting a Facebook page for supporters.
“I think it is extreme to go from having smoking on campus to completely banning it,” said ASG Sen. Kristopher Infante, chairman of College Republicans. “I think we should work on finding a middle ground before completely banning it.”
Texas State would not be the first to ban smoking. More than 365 American colleges and universities have instituted anti-smoking rules, with the most local being the University of Texas-Arlington according to an article on Time.com. Though Jean Hood, vice president of Human Resources at UTA, said it is not a smoking ban, but rather a tobacco-free campus initiative.
Hood said the guidelines for a tobacco-free campus initiative were implemented last spring after gaining feedback from surveying students. UTA is drafting the compliance piece of the policy. The university will officially become tobacco free in August 2011, but students and faculty will be allowed to smoke in their vehicles with their windows rolled up.
“Starting in 2011 allowed us time to implement programs for those who choose to become tobacco-free and allow the campus to get used to being this way,” Hood said. “The reason we did this is because we wanted to have a healthy working and learning environment.”
Students on the Texas State campus share similar sentiments.
“I hate walking behind people who smoke,” said Brandon Toussant, public relations sophomore. “When the wind blows it into my face, it’s gross.”
Within two weeks a survey will be distributed by the Student Health Center to gather information on the perception of smoking across campus. The proposal will be introduced to ASG after the results have been collected.