Clearing the air: on-campus smokers face minor consequences


Outline of Kent State property where the smoking ban will take effect. 

Holli Phillips

When the smoking ban goes into effect July 1, smokers in violation may be referred to staff or student conduct, but there won’t necessarily be an increased university presence to enforce the ban.

“We are not going to have the smoking brigade out on campus looking for individuals to smoke,” said Shay Little, vice president of the Division of Student Affairs. “What we, as a university, hope is the community will buy into the fact that we want to have the healthiest campus.”

The ban also applies to e-cigarettes, vaping devices and chewing tobacco. Students, staff, visitors, employees, volunteers, vendors and contractors are not permitted to use prohibited items anywhere on university property — including in their cars, as noted in the FAQ page of the smoking ban.

The university hopes Kent State student and faculty smokers will recognize the way smoking affects those around them and will respect the well-being of not only others, but themselves.

“By building a culture of health, we are hoping to decrease the number of smokers here on this campus,” Little said. “If our campus is smoke free, smokers will smoke less per day since they do not have access to areas where they can smoke. Our goal is not to punish smokers, but to help create a healthier lifestyle.”

The university distributed posters and created a webpage for students and staff to provide resources to help smokers kick the habit.

Some Kent State community smokers feel discriminated against by the university, like Jakob Rees.

“I pay to go to school here just like everyone else, so I shouldn’t have to walk all the way off of campus in order to smoke a cigarette in between my classes, especially since smoking is legal,” said Rees, a freshman fashion design major. “I don’t necessarily care if others disagree with my actions.”

The consequences aren’t harsh enough, said Abigail Heslep, a senior communications major.

“I understand that smoking is an addiction, and since there won’t be major punishments, I feel like many smokers won’t respect the rules,” she said.  “The university should have considered designating certain areas for smokers to smoke on campus to prevent this from happening, but I guess the university will wait and see if the consequences are effective or not.”

Holli Phillips is the health and wellness reporter, contact her at [email protected].