By: Taylor Lewis & Rebecca DeLuna
“I’ve been known to smoke a cigarette or two on campus. I’m actually undefeated for smoking citations,” Clayton Russell said.
Smoking cigarettes on The University of Mississippi campus has been banned since Russell, a senior from Texas, was a freshman. Yet the Smoke Free Policy seemed to have no effect on his daily habit.
Russell is one of many student smokers who have been able to slip through the cracks by smoking in the areas of campus that are unofficially deemed as “smoke spots”.
UM faculty and staff, like Shannon Richardson, are not blind to these smoke spots.
“I know that smoking still happens on campus, and I’ve seen it myself around buildings such as the Library, Martindale, and the Intensive English/Global Engagement building. I’m sure there are others,” Richardson, the assistant director of campus recreation, said.
Russell also mentioned the Library as one of his main “smoke spots”.
Victoria Hutton, an Integrated Marketing Communications major, also added Holman Hall and the art building to the favorite “smoke spot” list.
Although Smoke Free Policy is said to be strictly enforced on the UM campus and there are several health issues associated with the habit, students continue to smoke on campus.
According to Erin Murphy Cromeans, assistant director of Health Promotion, “the majority of lifelong smokers begin smoking habits before the age of 24, which makes the college years a critical time for prevention efforts.”
Richardson also elaborated on why she believes students continue to smoke.
“Honestly? (Student’s smoke) because they are either addicted or they don’t care about others.”
Despite the students that violate the policy, Richardson feels the policy has done its job at the university.
“I believe the policy has helped reduce the amount of smoking on campus, but has not eliminated it. I believe the policy’s goal has been a success, which is to reduce harmful second hand smoke on campus,” Richardson said.
However, students, like Hutton, still feel that the Smoke Free Policy has been ineffective and has led to an epidemic of “smoke spots” around campus.
“No I think being “smoke free” just means people hide it better and students don’t just walk around blasting cigarettes. Ole miss is just trying to keep it classy,” Victoria Hutton, a senior Integrated Marketing Communications major, said.
The University of Mississippi is one of several southeastern universities with a “Smoke Free Policy” on campus, yet students claim that the current policies are ineffective due to a lack of enforcement.
According to the Smoke Free Policy’s website , The University of Mississippi introduced the
Smoke Free Campus Policy in August of 2012 and began to strictly enforce it on Jan. 1, 2013.
As stated on the website, “smoking is prohibited at all times and at all locations of the University of Mississippi Oxford campus, including university-owned facilities, properties and grounds.”
UM had previously allowed smoking on campus in designated areas, yet “the ban was a result of students not abiding by those policies,” said university officials, in an article by Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
Despite the policy being implemented almost five years ago, there have only been 25 smoking violations cited on the university’s crime reports since 2012
As far as citations, “those who are found smoking on campus may be subject to a $25 fine,” as The Smoke Free Policy website states.
According to Erin Murphy Cromeans, the assistant director of Health Promotions, “the responsibility for the enforcement and communication of this policy rests with all members of the University community and the University Police Department.”
Erin Murphy Cromeans