Many students find themselves walking through a cloud of smoke to and from classes at the many campuses of Salt Lake Community College. It’s not uncommon for students to end up smelling like cigarette smoke by the end of their jam-packed school days. But it’s not illegal to smoke and there’s not much that can be done to control it with the exception of a couple of rules.
On Dec. 31, 2008 at midnight, Utah instated a law called the Indoor Clean Air Act, which basically meant happy new years to those who were trying to quit second-hand smoke. This law states that there is no smoking indoors in any public areas and that anyone who is smoking must be 25 feet away from a building entrance or exit or air intake vents.
Of course SLCC adopted these new rules campus wide since it was illegal not to, but is this enough to protect the nonsmokers? The only policy available to students states that there is no drinking on campus and all smoking must be done 25 ft. away from an entrance or exit. The Student Government has put ashtrays 25 feet from all entrances, but it seems that these are rarely being used. You can tell by the lack of cigarette butts and the plethora of used gum and spare change inside most of the ashtrays. Surprisingly enough, the ashtrays are also sneaking closer and closer to the doors, putting the smokers closer and closer to the doors.
“The smoking is always really close to the entrances. I don’t want to grow up and find out I have lung cancer when I’ve never even picked up a cigarette,” said SLCC student Emily Bowden.
Unfortunately, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, even with the American Cancer Society (ACS) doing all they can to promote information about tobacco use and the benefits of cessation. The ACS sponsors a national “smoke out” day every third Thursday of November in hopes that this day of non-smoking will lead to a permanent change with smokers. The ACS also offers seminars, information, and programs to help people quit smoking.
If the American Cancer Society isn’t your first-choice method for help quitting smoking, help can be found somewhere closer to home. The Health and Wellness Center in the basement of the Student Center also offers information about smoking and a free 8-week smoking cessation program to help students quit smoking. This smoking cessation program includes sessions with a counselor every week and a personalized plan to help smokers quit. For more information on this program and how to plan a first meeting, go to slcc.edu/hw and navigate to the information about smoking cessation. Also, check out the other many service available from the Health and Wellness Center.