Still smoking on campus?

Two years after campuswide smoking and tobacco ban, butts still litter certain areas

Kelly Kennedy, Feature Editor

In 2015, the University of San Diego became a smoking and tobacco-free campus. Nearly two years later, cigarette butts can still be found on campus where smokers congregate out of sight and out of mind.

According to university policy, the prohibition of smoking and tobacco products applies to all employees, students, contractors, vendors, guests, and attendees at any on-campus program or event.  

Basically anyone that sets foot on USD’s campus cannot smoke or use tobacco products, which includes e-cigarettes, chewing or dipping tobacco, and marijuana.

The university considered medical warnings from the Surgeon General of the United States when enacting this policy. The university website encourages campus community members who feel comfortable to approach people violating this policy and ask them if they are aware that USD is smoking and tobacco free, and to please extinguish or discontinue their use.

According to Marie Minnick, Assistant Dean of Students, reports of smoking can merit follow up with the Office of Ethical Conduct and Restorative Practices or Human Resources depending on if the smoker is a student or faculty member.

Despite the campuswide ban, and campus efforts to help smokers quit their habit, cigarette butts can still be found on campus this week.

A USD Vista staff member picked up 86 cigarette butts at the top of the stairs, which lead down to Linda Vista behind Loma Hall.

Because smoking and tobacco products are not allowed on campus, there are no designated smoking areas, and those who choose not to quit must go off campus or risk being detected.

Sophomore Julia Roccato has noticed that, instead of smoking directly on campus, some smokers congregate around places out of view or directly outside USD property.

“I wish we did have a designated spot for smoking, because then the canyon and other hidden places on campus wouldn’t be littered with cigarette butts.”

Roccato also noticed that smokers congregate directly outside of campus to smoke.

“A lot of people stand in front of the USD signs by the entrance to smoke or go to the canyon instead,” Roccato said.

Junior Jordan Readyhough doesn’t think the ban actually lessens the number of people who smoke.

“I think that people are going to smoke with or without a ban, so the ban on campus just forces them to smoke somewhere else, like Linda Vista, or [Tecolote] Canyon,” Readyhough said. “Not seeing it around might lead to less people feeling the desire to start smoking, but as for people that already smoke, it’s not actually fixing their issues.”

Even though there aren’t  designated smoking areas on campus, people continue to smoke despite the ban.