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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

UMass Boston to ban all tobacco by August

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Smokers on campus are not pleased with the ban

On Oct. 24, the University of Massachusetts Boston issued a statement that the campus will become tobacco-free starting on Aug. 1 of next year.
The release by the Office of Communications states, “The policy will prohibit the use of any tobacco or nicotine products everywhere on campus — in all buildings and outdoor areas caroled by the university, including parking lots.”
Groups at UMass Boston have raised concerns over the years that tobacco smoke on campus is harmful to non-smokers and smokers alike. The Workplace Health and Safety Joint Labor Management Committee, the Faculty Council, and the Undergraduate Student Government all made the recommendation for the campus to be “smoke-free, tobacco-free, and electronic cigarette-free” as stated on the UMass Boston website.
The official UMass Boston Tobacco Policy Report, issued on Oct. 20, states that the new policy will apply to all personnel on campus “including students, staff, faculty, contractors, and visitors.” 
The university has also declared that in the near future that it will develop and fund a smoking cessation program to assist students, faculty, and staff who wish to quit smoking.
In order to fulfill its responsibility to its faculty, staff, students, and visitors, the university will implement the Tobacco-Free Campus Policy to eliminate any secondhand exposure to smoke, and firmly eliminate the risk of accidental fire.
The policy is as follows:
1. In compliance with state law, the use of tobacco is prohibited in all buildings, including all buildings owned or leased by the University of Massachusetts Boston.  
2. The use of tobacco is also prohibited on all university grounds and in any outdoor area controlled by the university, including the Bayside property and the Harbor Walk.
3. The use of tobacco is prohibited inside all university owned or leased vehicles, regardless of location.
4. Applications for exceptions to this policy may be sought (e.g., for religious celebrations or practices, artistic performances, and smoking research).
The enforcement will be based on the voluntary actions by the community, emphasizing education on the matter. However, if that is ineffective, “the regular university grievance and disciplinary procedures will be followed.” Action will vary on whether the individual is a student, faculty member, staffer, or visitor.
Student Trustee Nolan O’Brien, who advocated for the Tobacco-Free Policy released a statement: “I think that it is time for UMass Boston to join the other four UMass campuses in promoting a healthier environment for everybody with this new tobacco free policy. I am confident that the administration will listen to the concerns and comments of the entire campus community throughout the implementation process.”  
Zannie Duffy, an EEOS major who is a non-smoker, commented on the Tobacco-Free Policy, saying, “I don’t think that’s necessary. They should at least have designated smoking areas”.
EEOS major Lindsay Lloyd, a smoker, stated, “I think that people should have designated smoking areas, so we can smoke where we want to smoke. And people who don’t smoke can stay away from there, or at least let us smoke in our cars, or on the other side of campus. Because I think we should have the freedom to do what we want and I’m over 18 and so if I want to smoke I should be able to [because] I can buy them.”
Francis Shinkunas, an English major and non-smoker, strongly expressed his disdain over the policy’s tight restriction of smokers.
“I feel like its infringing on our freedoms,” Shinkunas said. “I feel like it is outside and the smoke is dissipating, we dump our sewage into the ocean and it dissipates down there, why can’t smoke dissipate into the air? I think there should be a hundred-foot rule enforced around the doors, because smoke can get into the buildings.”
Ben Richwine, a psychology major and a smoker, when hearing about the upcoming policy stated, “I don’t like it at all, I really don’t, mainly because with this being such a culturally diverse college and we have a lot of people coming from a whole bunch of places.”
“I went to Northeastern and they became a ‘smoke free campus’ and just like here it is a very diverse campus. People were still going out of their way to smoke. It just doesn’t work […] because it would take too many people to enforce it if they were going to do that. There would be just a lack of enforcement or a lack of people trying to follow the rules. I would say that, probably, half the students here are smokers and also a lot of people, myself included, are smokers […] and it’s kind of a social thing. I don’t like it because A) it would take too many people to enforce it, B) it’s impeding on my socializing.”
The university will hold a 30-day comment period for all members of the campus to express their opinions on the matter and policy, which will end on Nov. 28. For those who wish to voice an opinion, comments can be sent via the UMass Boston website, email, text, the SA Group site, or by visiting stations set up in the Campus Center.