Tobacco-Free Initiative forums continue; participants weigh in on smoking

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Students and leaders still differ on a smoky issue.

Past and present Dixie State College Student Association leaders held a forum for students to voice any questions and comments they have on the Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative.

The main concerns voiced from students were about the validity of health concerns, designated smoking areas and the majority of the student population dominating a minority.

Darin Small, a senior integrated studies major from St. George, questioned if smoking outside was harmful to the environment and to students’ health.

Joe Pate, a senior nursing major from Provo and former DSCSA health-science senator, said the campus received more than 400 complaints last year about secondhand smoke, and one person even reported having a smoke-induced asthma attack.

Other students asked questions and voiced concerns about how they felt outnumbered.

Jimmy Seely, DSCSA health-science senator and a senior nursing major from Morgan, said last year’s smoking survey showed 62 percent of students agreed or strongly agreed that tobacco use should be banned on campus, and another 15 percent didn’t have an opinion.

He also said 10 percent of students surveyed were individuals who smoke on a regular basis.

Small said smokers and non-smokers should come to a middle ground and propose a solution that accommodates both groups. He and others suggested designated smoking areas would be a good middle ground.

Chaz Whitbeck, last year’s student body vice president, said the cessation efforts provided by the health department are a middle ground. The majority of students voted for a tobacco-free campus.

He also said other schools that have a tobacco-free campus tried using designated smoking areas but then ended up removing them.

Another forum will be held Nov. 26 at noon in the Gardner Center. The DSCSA’s senate report is available online at http://dixiestudentlife.com/tobacco-free-campus-initiative/.