The Last Drag

UTSA smokers may soon have to get their fix elsewhere.

The UTSA Staff Council surveyed students, faculty and staff, Nov. 3-10 about merits of having a smoke-free campus.

The number of respondents to the four question survey was 3,618. The results of the survey were as follows:

•39.6 percent agreed that smoking should be allowed only in private vehicles and in designated outside smoking areas that are at least 100 feet away from doorways, sideways and smoke-free eating areas

•23.2 percent agreed that smoking should be allowed in private vehicles only

•39.3 percent agreed that there should be no smoking anywhere on campus

•22.9 percent agreed that smoking should not further be restricted

“Dr. Romo will be sent a summary, and it will be up to him to decide what to do with the data from the tobacco survey,” said UTSA Staff Council Ad-Hoc Committee Chair and Director of Testing Joleen Reynolds.

UTSA’s current smoking policy allows smokers to smoke on campus as long as they smoke outside, and are at least 20 feet away from any building entrance or common path of travel. This is true with every building except the UTSA Recreation Center where smokers must smoke at least 100 feet away from its entrances.

UTSA would not be the first university in Texas to have a smoke free campus. Starting Aug. 1 2011, Texas State University and the University of Texas at Arlington became smoke free. These two top out the list at 15 college and university campuses in Texas that have adopted a smoke-free campus policy.

Some students feel that a complete ban on smoking on campus is not necessary.

“I can see how people don’t want to smell like smoke or inhale second hand smoke,” senior sociology major Jennifer Carter said. “Instead of a complete smoking ban, they should have a designated smoking area. I don’t think they should ban it completely and there would be nowhere for smokers to go because it’s not easy for them to go all the way off campus.”

Other students felt as though the ban was a good thing, and it would not take long for smokers to get used to the new rule.

“I am from Austin area, so I’m used to it [banning smoking],” senior biology major Chris Munoz said. “I am against smoking personally, but I understand the right to smoke. I think it would be better especially for people with asthma or other respiratory issues that have to walk by the smoking area between the McKinney Building and the Business Building. If they can do it there [Austin], I’m sure it would not be a big deal to do it [ban smoking] here.”