College of Southern Maryland to go smoke-free
All tobacco, e-cigarette use banned from campuses starting Jan. 1
The College of Southern Maryland will soon join more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the country in banning tobacco and nicotine prod- ucts from its campus.
CSM announced last week that as of Jan. 1, 2017, all campuses will go smoke-free. The pol- icy will apply to all those entering onto CSM prop- erties, including students, faculty, staff, volunteers, contractors, visitors and others. All events hosted by CSM or by outside groups on CSM campuses will be tobacco-free as well.
The ban includes all CSM properties, including buildings and facilities, outdoor areas, athletic fields, parking lots and vehicles parked or traveling on campus, and will be applicable 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to school officials.
The ban covers the use of all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, electronic smoking devices and any unregulated nicotine product, according to school officials.
According to the American Nonsmokers Rights
Foundation, as of Oct. 1, 1,713 colleges and uni- versities in the U.S. had 100 percent smoke free policies. Of those, 1,427 are also tobacco free and 1,288 also prohibit elec- tronic cigarettes.
CSM President Bradley Gottfried said the school has been considering going smoke free and tobac- co free for some time, and decided now was the time to make the move.
“I think a big part of the college has always been engaged in wellness for our students and employ- ees,” Gottfried said. “What we’re embarking on is a more comprehensive pol- icy that will move the needle forward in helping our students and employees to be more healthful.”
To assist those inter- ested in kicking the habit, CSM will be provid- ing smoking-cessation resources and counseling available on all campuses, and is working to bring cessation classes to each campus.
The college will also place “quit kits” around each of its campuses. All ash urns will be removed from the college’s gaze- bos and replaced with signs to indicate CSM is a smoke-, tobacco- and vape-free campus.
Gottfried said that after Jan. 1, public safety officers will speak with any- one they see smoking or using tobacco products anywhere on campus and inform them of the new policy.
“However, we’re not expecting their primary responsibility will be as smoking cops,” Gottfried said.
CSM student Michael Mueller said he takes classes at both the Leon- ardtown and La Plata cam- puses and he didn’t think the policy change would be effective.
“I think this is going to affect the La Plata campus more than Leonardtown,” Mueller said. “It’ll be stressful for students who smoke during midterms and finals because they stress out during test taking time. They can’t tell me that I can’t smoke in my car.”
Prospective CSM Leonardtown student Jarrett Johnson said he didn’t think the policy was a good idea.
“The gazebo is a Pokestop,” Johnson said, referring to real-world locations used in the game “Pokemon Go.” “They have the cigarette container strapped to the floor of the gazebo. This is the only spot on campus you can smoke.”
CSM La Plata student Ciara Levins said that overall, she understands why the school is putting the policy in effect, but thinks it goes too far in banning e-cigarettes.
“I can understand why they want the no smok- ing policy as far as tobac- co, but it kind of confused me as far as the vaporizing situation, because I’ve been trying to use it to quit,” Levins said. “I understand wanting to breathe clean air, but the e-cigarettes don’t affect bystanders, they only af- fect you if you’re inhaling it directly.
“I can’t really be mad at it,” Levins added. “Most colleges you go to nowa- days, they don’t even allow visitors to come onto campus with cigarettes, or if they do, it’s in a designated area away from everyone else. It sucks, but people have a right to breathe the way they want to breathe. It’s a basic human right, to breathe.”
Brittany Green, a sophomore at the CSM Prince Frederick campus, said she is in favor of the ban.
“Having a smoke-free campus is a great idea. Secondhand smoke can be so dangerous and [few] people know just how dangerous it can be,” Green said.
Timothy Willis, a freshman at the Prince Frederick campus, described the policy as an inconvenience.
“It really doesn’t matter to me one way or another, but it would be nice to be able to just light up my cigarette when I get out of class. Guess I’ll just have to wait,” Willis said.
Gottfried said he understands the policy may negatively impact enrollment and rental of school facilities.
“There is a good chance companies may take their business elsewhere, and some students may not come here,” Gottfried said. “If we lose some business, if we lose some students, so be it. It is past time for us to do the right thing.”
For more information on the policy and resources, go to www.csmd.edu/ breatheclean.
Michael Mueller, college student, sits in the gazebo where smoking is currently permitted at the College of Southern Maryland, Leonardtown campus. The college plans to ban smoking on all of its campuses starting in 2017.
Jarret Johnson, a prospective college student, plays Pokemon Go on his phone while lighting up a cigarette at the College of Southern Maryland, Leonardtown campus.
Cigarette receptacles such as this one in a gazebo on the College of Southern Maryland La Plata campus, will soon be replaced with notices that CSM is a smoke-, tobacco- and vape-free campus, when the policy goes into effect Jan. 1.