Elizabeth Edwards ‘20, Staff Writer

Source: Caroline Ozzy (Flikr.com)
Source: Caroline Ozzy (Flikr.com)

First, the bars. Then, the restaurants. Now, college campuses. Accommodations for smokers are slowly disappearing. In early July Immaculata, like many higher education institutions in the area, introduced a tobacco-free policy for all buildings and areas operated by the University. It bans the use of cigarettes, vapes, chewing tobacco and other nicotine products.

Employees knew about the rule change months before it went into effect. But many students don’t know much about the policy. A small handful of community members decided to weigh in on the issue.

Freshman Michaela Paneghello, a non-smoker, appreciates the sentiment behind the new policy. She said, “I don’t want to be constantly walking around campus breathing smoke.” However, she also mentioned that she supports having designated smoking areas around campus, as opposed to a full ban on tobacco products.

One Immaculata employee, who preferred to remain anonymous, is a smoker who admits that the new policy is headed in “a good direction, because it encourages healthy living.” Despite that, he says the shift to a tobacco-free campus has been a challenge. “I just wish they still had the designated smoking areas,” he lamented.

Not all campus community members are in favor of the new rule. A junior who chose not to give her name suggested that the policy is unfair. She pointed out that resident students can now get into trouble for having a nicotine vape in their dorm rooms, even if that individual does not use the vape on campus. “It’s annoying that vapes are banned,” she concluded.

Other students disagree. Sean, a sophomore who withheld his surname, said that he is fully in favor of the new policy. “I’m really glad they took action on it,” he said. The two friends he was sitting with echoed the sentiment, emphasizing that they support the initiative because it promotes student health.

It was inevitable that some kind of regulation was coming down the road,” said Jack Merrylees, a supervisor for the Department of Safety and Protection. He explained that visitors to the University would sometimes complain about the smell of the ashtrays outside of the Lourdes entrance. “It’s a better presentation for us as an educational entity insofar as how students and their parents perceive the school.”

The tobacco-free initiative isn’t likely to go away. It has been an adjustment for some members of the community, but the popular sentiment appears favorable.

The times they are a-changing. Immaculata is no exception.

Source: Aaron Yoo (Flikr.com)