SGA sends smokers to campus sidewalks
A bill designed to make UH a smoke-free environment was passed by SGA on Jan. 18. The bill requires smokers to stand a minimum of 25 feet away from campus buildings while smoking — the current minimum distance is 15 feet. It also requires ash receptacles to be placed at least 35 feet away from buildings instead of the current 15-foot distance regulation.
It is noble of SGA to try to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke, but the bill will likely do exactly the opposite. This is because SGA doesn’t seem to understand the layout of our campus.
If you step out of a building and walk 15 feet, you will find yourself between that building and a sidewalk. If you were to walk another 10 feet, you would find yourself standing on a sidewalk. The only thing this bill will do is push smokers onto campus sidewalks. When that happens, more students will be exposed to second-hand smoke.
If the bill was designed simply to keep smokers away from campus buildings, it will be successful. However, if the bill was designed to protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke, it will fail miserably.
While most smokers on campus smoke near buildings, they are often in places that are far away from entrances. .
If SGA truly wanted to protect students from second-hand smoke, they would pass a bill that created designated smoking areas on the sides of buildings. Smokers would be able to smoke out of the way of other students and non-smokers would be able to walk on smoke-free sidewalks.
SGA should have waited to introduce this bill later until later in the semester. By doing this, they could have gotten feedback from smokers and non-smokers alike. Then again, it would have been more difficult for them to pass such a bill if students were aware that it existed. SGA took the easy way out on this one. And, as a result they now have a bill that will do the opposite of what it was intended to do.