USC considering a campus-wide tobacco ban - - Columbia, South Carolina |

USC considering a campus-wide tobacco ban

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The University of South Carolina is considering a new proposal that would ban smoking on-campus.

The proposal would also mean no lighting up during tailgating events. While it's still in the beginning stages, the university claims it already has broad support for the ban.

Cigarette butts litter the ground outside the International building on USC's campus. If a new proposal is passed, smoking anywhere on the grounds will be prohibited.

"A large portion of our population doesn't use it. Part of that is attributed to the current tobacco policy," said USC spokesman Wes Hickman

Right now, you're not allowed to smoke in buildings or within 25 feet of each building. There are some designated outdoor smoking areas.

Smoking is even allowed on tailgating grounds, but if the proposal were approved all that would change.

"I think it's a good thing for sure but I think it's an individual's choice and as long as they're outside I feel like it should be okay," said USC junior Savannah Walker.

"I frequently walk on campus and there's always someone smoking past me and I really hate it," said USC senior Jeneba Samkin. "I always hold my breath or something. I really hate inhaling smoke."

Hickman says 90 percent of staff and 86 percent of students do not smoke. And he says research shows a vast majority of students would support a campus-wide tobacco ban.

"The task force has already done surveys," Hickman added. "They've done a lot of research both internally and externally."

It's a 40-member task force made up of students, faculty and staff. If approved, signs would be posted and the campus would be educated on where is off-limits.

"It's not about giving people tickets, it's not about arresting people it's not about harassing people, said Hickman. "It's about giving people a gentle reminder that we're trying to create an environment where people can make healthy choices."

"I think it's a great idea," Samkin added. "A lot of students don't like being around smoke. I think the school should really push for that."

The proposal still has a long way to go before a decision is made. There will be public forums to get more student input and parent perspectives.

If approved, Hickman says it would take at least three months to prepare for the ban.


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