Class project sparks discussion about smoking on campus

A group of students from the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention class taught by Professor Joan Riley worked together with Relay for Life to petition in Red Square to make Georgetown a smoke-free campus. The main goal was to raise awareness of second-hand smoke on campus and to promote health and disease prevention.

“Over 1,200 colleges in the U.S. have gone smoke-free, and we wanted to bring this conversation to Georgetown,” Kelly Kimball (NHS ’16), one of the students coordinating the petition, said in an email to Vox. “My group, which was assigned the topic of social smoking, worked on this petition with the group assigned the topic of smoking cessation.”

After making a Facebook page for the petition, some tobacco-loving Hoyas rose in opposition to the idea of a “Smoke Free Campus” and began trolling the Facebook page, commenting that a smoke-free campus would infringe upon students’ rights. Some jokingly suggested banning alcohol as well.

Conway Yao (SFS ’14) even made Vox double check the 11th Amendment of the Constitution because according to his counter-Facebook event titled “Petition to Make Georgetown a Smoke Only Campus,” the 11th amendment reads: “The right of the people to keep and bear stogies shall not be infringed.”

While the event made it clear that many Hoyas don’t want to give up their smoke study breaks outside of Lau, the students working on the project were pleased with the discussion they sparked.

“We knew from the beginning that the petition likely wouldn’t get enough support to actually pass a full ban,” Taylor Smith (NHS ’16), another student coordinating the petition, said in an email to Vox. “The main idea was to raise the community’s awareness of the problem and stimulate a discourse among the student body so that this issue could really be considered with the potential for making a positive change.”

Former GUSA president Nate Tisa (SFS ’14) had something to say (although Vox has noticed that he always has something to say…) on the idea of the petition and commented that implementing a ban on smoking would be ineffective to the issue of second-hand smoke.

“Instead of calling on Georgetown to enact a ban we know will be toothless, we should call on them to subsidize nicotine patches, e-cigarettes and other techniques for quitting, and pressure them to enforce EXISTING rules that keep smoking away from building entrances,” posted Tisa in the Facebook event.

If these students are being graded for their project on getting former GUSA executives, smokers, and non-smokers really riled up, Vox thinks they should get an A+.

Photo: flickr via Michael Ocampo

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