November 16, 2015

Smoke-free campus?: Students record nearly 400 accounts of campus smoking

Sarah Rohleder

By Brooke Moody—

It’s hard to ignore the pungent, musty odor of cigarette smoke. Students at U of L are all too familiar with this smell. It’s a common sight to see smokers lingering outside between classes, puffing out clouds of permeating smoke. But wait—isn’t the University of Louisville a smoke-free campus?

Officially, the university is a “smoke-free.” On Nov. 18, 2010 the university adopted a no smoking policy. The policy states that the “smoking of any substance is not allowed on any of the U of L campuses,” yet a visit to campus would reveal an atmosphere where smoking is prevalent.

To measure the extent to which the university was “smoke-free,” a group of students recently spent nearly 40 hours over two nonconsecutive weeks counting smokers on the Belknap campus. The numbers they collected exposed a staggering amount of people smoking. The students recorded nearly 400 accounts of smoking on campus, most of which occurred in high-traffic, conspicuous locations. Seventeen students went to all four corners of campus, counting people on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at times ranging from noon to 5 p.m. Students were placed such that they would never count the same student twice.

“I hate smoke. It messes with my allergies that are already bad at this time and it stinks,” says U of L student Haley Williams. “I’ll be walking behind someone, and all of a sudden I’m walking through a big smoke cloud.”

Many other students attested to the high number of smokers they encounter throughout their week.

“I think it can be misleading to students that we advertise a smoke free campus, when in reality we are not. Nothing is more irritating than walking to class at Davidson or Ekstrom and having to be around people smoking,” says senior Amanda Allen. “Second hand smoke health risks are real. However, I understand the reality of enforcing such a policy on a public university campus, and I know it’s difficult to enforce said policy. Maybe we should be proactive in advocating for alternatives to overcome smoking addiction.”

If U of L is smoke-free, then how do so many people get away with smoking on campus? The answer lies within the details of the policy, specifically how it is enforced.

Director of Public Safety Wayne Hall said, “We have not issued any citations for smoking on campus. Smoking on campus is not a criminal offense.”

Currently, there is no punishment for students, faculty, staff or guests who smoke on campus. People are just expected to honor the rules.

This honor system of has done little to dissuade people from smoking on campus, an action that has serious implications for the entire campus community. According to a report issued by the U.S. Surgeon, “there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”

The purpose of U of L’s no-smoking policy was to eliminate this threat and create a safer, healthier campus community. However, the campaign that began five years ago has quietly dwindled.

In recent years, university officials have noted the ebb of the policy, leading to the creation of the Smoke-Free Committee. In conjunction with the Student Government Association, the Smoke-Free Committee is working to recharge the policy.

Former Provost Shirley Willihnganz challenged the committee and SGA to develop an enforcement strategy for the no-smoking policy. Originally set to be ready for review by the end of 2015, the strategy was delayed when Provost Willihnganz stepped down in June.

With interim provost Neville Pinto and CFO/COO Harlan Sands, the Smoke-Free Committee is continuing to develop enforcement strategies but their completion and implementation date is still unknown.

The wish for the enforcement of smoke-free policy is not universal on campus. Smokers believe that smoking should not be regulated at all.

“These liberals taking my constitutional right to smoke where I want to smoke is bulls***,” says junior Michael Barnes.

“I thinks it’s unfair and discriminatory. I don’t like it, and I think it’s too controlling,” says DeAnna Shiner, a U of L employee. “Too many people are trying to control things, and they need to start controlling their own lives and not smoking.”

Data collected from the U of L National College Health Assessment conducted in 2012 shows that nearly 85 percent of participants support the enforcement of U of L’s smoke-free policy.

Unless a stricter smoking-ban is in place, however, there is no sign that smoking will disappear from campus any time soon.

Our reporters tracked the smoking hot spots on campus over the course of three days.
Our reporters tracked the smoking hot spots on campus. 

Graphic and photo by Sarah Rohleder / The Louisville Cardinal

4 thoughts on “Smoke-free campus?: Students record nearly 400 accounts of campus smoking

  1. there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke


    There are safe levels of everything they just refuse to admit it.

    OSHA also took on the passive smoking fraud and this is what came of it:

    Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition

    This sorta says it all

    These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

    So OSHA standards are what is the guideline for what is acceptable ”SAFE LEVELS”


    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes.

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes.

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes.

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time.

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So, OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA.

    Why are their any smoking bans at all they have absolutely no validity to the courts or to science!

  2. “I thinks it’s unfair and discriminatory. I don’t like it, and I think it’s too controlling,” says DeAnna Shiner, a U of L employee. “Too many people are trying to control things, and they need to start controlling their own lives and not smoking.”

    Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    This amendment is used to protect the citizenry from any expansion of governmental power because of the limited nature of the Bill of Rights. Because every right of the people of the United States could not possibly be mentioned in the Constitution, the Ninth Amendment was added to supplement those already mentioned. The amendment protects many rights implied in a universal civil code, and those that are linked to other rights already declared. It protects these personal liberties from state and federal infringement.

  3. Tobacco Control Scotland has admitted it has no record of any deaths or demonstrable harm caused to anyone from second hand smoke as the UK Govt pushes forward the idea of third hand smoke, aka Invisible Smoke, without any evidence at all.

    Bill Gibson, The International Coalition Against Prohibition (TICAP) chairman, was interested to know how many actual deaths and respiratory illnesses were recorded in Scotland from passive smoking, given the reported guesstimate 13,000 figure which is repeated parrot fashion year after year.

    He put in an FOI request and found that there wasn’t one death or respiratory illnesses attributed to SHS or tobacco. Perhaps I should repeat that. Not one death has been recorded in Scotland as definitely related to tobacco smoking or passive smoking.


    If we did the same the world over we would get the same answer.

    Remember this story from last year:

    B.S. Study: 600,000 People Die Worldwide From Secondhand Smoke Every Year


    US Bureau of Labor Statistics Shows Zero Deaths From 2nd Hand Smoke
    Where are the deaths?
    If people who work in bars die from secondhand smoke, why does the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the last 4 years show ZERO DEATHS from exposure to harmful substances or environments?… This data is for 2011. (pg38 of 53). Notice that 31 people died while working in a “drinking place”(which my bar is classified as). 27 deaths were by violent injuries by persons or animals(?). 2 died by fires or explosions. I don’t know where the other 2 deaths are listed however, there are 0 deaths from exposure to harmful substances or environments.
    So where are these deaths from SHS?
    Notice 2010 under this below. In 2010, there were 28 total deaths, 25 from violence and 0 from exposure to harmful substances or environments.
    0250.pdf (pg 18).
    In 2009, 32 deaths of bar workers. 31 were violent deaths and 0 from exposure to harmful substances or environments.… (pg 18)
    In 2008, 35 deaths of bar workers. 32 were violent deaths and 0 from exposure to harmful substances or environments.… (pg 18).
    They aren’t crawling out and dying in the parking lots either. We would have noticed ’em.”
    Sheila Martin

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