A campus-wide ban on smoking at UMass Lowell has officially started, effectively making the campus tobacco free. The ban has sparked confusion among many students, both for and against the ban.
Students have brought up a wide range of issues in response to the ban, namely enforcement. Although some change has been noticed amongst the smoking community, users of tobacco have been spotted ignoring the ban entirely.
Students arguing against the ban have supported the use of designated smoking areas. “They should have kept the ashtrays around,” said Timothy Pflanz, a 22-year-old UML student getting his master’s degree.
Students have noticed an increase in littering since the removal of the ashtrays from campus. “They should still keep the ashtrays around campus so people don’t throw butts on the ground,”
sophomore Anthony Leo-Mayes said.
While the subject of littering is a huge issue with the ban, campus safety is another cause for concern with the ban on smoking. “It worries me for people that do smoke that have to go off campus at night to smoke,” said junior Andrew Gauvin.
Freshman Eric Leach says, “I support the ban, but it does need to be modified so that smokers aren’t putting themselves in an unsafe situation.”
While the ban has been argued to force smokers into such unsafe situations, most have agreed, both supporters and non-supporters, that the ban hasn’t forced smokers off-campus much at all.
For Christina Galluccio this has become a large issue. Galluccio, a freshman at UML, is originally from southern California where smoking culture has been largely fought against by many institutions. “Smoking bans are enforced there,” she said.
“When I came to the school it was advertised as a smoke-free campus. I was excited,” said Galluccio. Unfortunately because the ban on smoking has had significant issues with enforceability, she feels as if the ban does not exist and that the school falsely adveritsed.
Galluccio is irritated by smoke and grew up in a place where she never really had to deal with it that much. “It’s not fair to the rest of the population to have to breathe that in,” said Galluccio. She agreed with many students saying, “People don’t really feel the need to hide it here.”
The punishment for smoking on campus or simply not hiding it well enough seems to be non-existent. Students, both smokers and nonsmokers, have not noticed any punishments for students smoking on campus.
“No one tells them to stop,” freshman Mary Silva said. Silva didn’t show any support for designated smoking areas.
Baylaigh Young, freshman, showed full support for the ban but had noticed that it wasn’t only students who were ignoring the new rule. “When my grandparents visit, they smoke. Even the bus drivers here smoke when they’re on their break,” says Young.
Some nonsmoking students have expressed apathy for UML’s new rule against cigarette smokers. “I don’t care. I don’t smoke so it doesn’t really affect my life that much,” sophomore Debbie Karapatsos said. “I think it’s good that people are trying to be healthy though.”
Karapatsos had made the argument for designated smoking areas by comparing UML to Disney World in Florida. “They have areas at Disney World for parents to step aside and smoke a cigarette and the kids would be fine,” she said. Karapatsos has also noticed that smokers are hiding more.
Warren Johnson, 20, junior, had also noticed this. “It’s kind of stupid because people are hiding behind dumpsters to smoke,” he said.
Some smoking students have not cut back on smoking at all. Kelli Plath a 22-year-old senior had made the argument for campus safety and designated smoking areas. “It’s legal. We’re not doing anything wrong,” she says. “I think they went about it the wrong way. Smokers are now required to go off-campus and they don’t have time between classes,” says Plath.
Students like freshman James Walmsley, have offered up general wisdom that could apply to almost any rule. “I see people abuse the rules all the time,” he said.
The Connector would like to hear your thoughts on the new smoking ban. Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam Linstead-Atkinson contributed to this article.