Nearly a full semester since its August inception, Miami University’s campus-wide smoking ban is here to stay.
Yet while much of the public outcry against the ban has slowly burnt out, a number of students and staff can still be spotted lighting up on university property, leading some to question whether or not the ban has been effective.
“I don’t think (the ban) has stopped people from smoking on campus,” said first-year Miami student Cameron Innis. “I frequently see students smoking outside the dorms and on their way to and from class.”
Andrew Sparks, co-founder of “Hodge’s Smokers,” a student group that held protests against the ban earlier this year, agreed that while the ban has been effective for some, many students still ignore the rules.
“For me, yes (the ban) has been effective,” Sparks said. “But for some of the other students I see people smoking on campus a lot.”
Sparks said that because students either accept the ban or ignore it completely, “Hodge’s Smokers” has been inactive since the last protest in October.
“Miami students as a whole aren’t too concerned with the smoking ban,” Sparks said. “Those that are, not including myself, are still smoking on campus and they are increasing in their numbers.”
According to the guidelines of the ban, smoking is currently prohibited in all Miami-owned facilities and on university-owned property, including all sidewalks, walkways, parking lots and garages on campus. But an increasing number of students and staff have found the ban is very difficult to enforce.
“I have smoked on campus and nothing happened except for one time when an officer snapped her fingers at me,” first year student Tyler Embrescia said. “It’s a very difficult (standard) to enforce because the campus is so big and because there aren’t really any consequences.”
Sparks agreed that the consequences for violating the ban seemed minimal.
“I’ve heard of a few people being fined,” Sparks said. “But it wasn’t anything big, something under $100.”
However, while many students are finding the ban easy to evade, according to the Miami Web site, consequences do exist.
“Employees and students who violate the policy will first be reminded that Miami is a smoke-free institution,” the policy states. “Subsequent violations will result in disciplinary action similar to those taken if an employee or student violates any other Miami policy.”
According to the Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution, 33 students have been disciplined for violating the campus-wide smoking ban. Claire Wagner, director of news and public information, said no staff members have been reprimanded for smoking on campus.
Wagner said she believes the ban is serving its purpose.
“To our knowledge, the smoking ban has been effective,” Wagner said. “We’re observing good compliance and I haven’t heard of problems reported.”
“I don’t really see people smoking on campus,” agreed junior Dan Morris. “I think (the ban) has been pretty effective.”
Objections aside, Embrescia too finds the ban to be a positive policy for Miami students.
“While there have been times that I have ignored the ban, it has still been good for me,” Embrescia said. “It’s making me smoke less.”