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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Smoked Out


During the last session of the USG Student Senate, President Neil MacInnes-Barker announced that UMB received a $20,000 grant from the Boston Board of Public Health to implement an initiative to make UMB a smoke-free campus.

According to a press release from the USG Steering Committee and President MacInnes-Barker, this substantial grant will pay for cessation programs that will “provide an excellent resource to students” who want to quit smoking and also “provide a balance between differing personal choices.”

USG Speaker Dan McDowell stated to the Mass Media, “The ultimate goal of this initiative is to ultimately have the campus go smoke-free over the course of a few years.”

In addition to the cessation programs, the initiatives will also provide a host of tools, resources, and education programs that will be implemented at UMB through each phase of the smoke-free initiative.

After this information was released to the UMB community there were immediate reactions from several students.

Caroline Necheles, an active member of the ARMS Center, had some strong words regarding the initiative. “Exactly how many people are you trying to piss off in one day? To force someone by saying ‘this is a smoke free campus’ is a very messed up way of telling someone that they can’t live their lives as they please,” said Necheles.

Amanda Huff, a UMB Senior, noted, “There are so many other better ways to spend $20,000 than to get people to stop smoking. How about fixing the poor facilities at UMB?”

There were also students who voiced approval for the initiative.

Shirley Scanlon, a UMB Junior, responded to the initiative by saying, “Thank you so much for hearing the concerns of non-smokers out. However, we need an enforcement plan because people ignore the signs and turn them around. I had to turn one back around near Wheatley Hall today.”

Maya Feldman, a UMB Senior, and Brittany Gage, a UMB Freshman, echoed similar sentiments when interviewed by the Mass Media.

President MacInnes-Barker anticipated the opposition to his initiative. He noted in his announcement that “I want nervous smokers to know that I still smoke, but off campus, and that this process has already been successfully implemented in 460 campuses nationwide.”

When asked to respond to the vibrant debate sparked by the $20,000 grant, President MacInnes-Barker said, “I hear you loud and clear! Thank you so much for your comment. A part of the grant that we have funding for will be towards reviewing policy and working on the best approaches for follow-through.”

He also emphasized, “It will not happen overnight and we must make sure that we have a strong support system with cessation and counseling services for smokers well before we tell them they have to stop smoking on campus.”

Necheles and other opponents of the smoke-free initiative were not convinced by the President’s explanation.

“It doesn’t matter how long it takes, it’s a bad idea all around. People smoke for a number of reasons. But the choice to smoke is a personal one,” said Necheles, “It’s one thing for a private campus to do that, they own it. This is a public school that’s on public land and I think that it’s horrible that you would support this direction in any way shape or form.”

The complete ban smoking may not come easily as the USG remains divided on this matter.

Speaker McDowell told the Mass Media that the USG Student Senate has mixed feelings on this issue and has not taken a side on this initiative, as it remains a strongly debated issue.