As of January 2010, the University of Denver is smoke-free on campus. But is the ban really making a difference? DU smoking ban goes ignored by many
Many colleges and universities still allow smoking, despite dangerously high smoking rates among college students. According to the Americans for Non-smokers’ Rights Foundation, approximately one third of college students smoke.
But although there are many college students nationwide that choose to smoke, the ban is becoming more common on college campuses, as more and more restaurants and other public places across the nation ban smoking.
So in an effort to keep the DU campus butt-free and to reduce secondhand smoke, students and staff are required to leave campus to smoke.
However, despite their efforts, a large amount of cigarette litter still appears all over campus, meaning that many students and staff are ignoring the ban.
Part of the reason many students don’t bother to leave campus is because DU has decided not loosely enforce the ban: there is no fine given to those who fail to comply to the ban.
The university has set up these signs, though, along the edges of campus to remind smokers to walk to the public sidewalks before they spark up.
The Harvard School of Public Health conducted a survey among 14,000 college students at 119 colleges nationwide that found a third of students are current users and nearly half of students had used tobacco products in the last year.
The survey noted that between 1993 and 1997, the number of American college students who smoked increased from 22% to 28%, and it’s still on the rise. Now, 33% of college students use all tobacco products in general.
Despite many attempts by non-profit organizations nationwide to promote non-smoking campaigns on campuses, as well as the attempts of the institutes, it appears they are not having much of an affect on the attitude of the students towards smoking.
The same Harvard study found that tobacco use is higher among students who drink regularly (the old “I-only-smoke-when-I-drink-excuse”) and have multiple sex partners; researchers call this “a strong party orientation.”
Not surprisingly, college students are still heavily targeted by the tobacco industry as potential customers. This can be seen in many bars around campuses with many cigarette promotions displayed. Therefore, researchers blame the rise in tobacco use among college students on the industry’s successful marketing push.
Even with the ban in place, many students still openly smoke on campus. “Sometimes I don’t have time to go off campus between classes to smoke,” said DU junior Tunstall Rushton. “I don’t see a problem with me lighting up when I know there is no one around. It’s not bothering anyone.”
After more than a year, it is difficult to tell whether the ban has had significant success on campus. However, it is certain DU is trying to decrease the third of students that smoke and combat the number of adult smokers in there will be in the future.