By: Joseph Sewell
Twenty-five year-old Camden County College senior and liberal arts major Nicole Iannece is one of a few students who have voiced their opinion on the smoking that has gone on at the Blackwood campus of Camden County College.
“I pay a lot of money to come to this school and when I’m on my way into the front door I don’t feel like breathing in a lot of hazardous smoke,” she said.
Since July 1, 2009, Camden County College has enforced a new smoking policy that prohibits the use of tobacco products on all three of their campuses stemming from Blackwood, Cherry Hill and Camden. According to the policy which can be found at http://www.Camdencc.edu, the college believes it is their “obligation to provide the healthiest environment for students, employees and visitors.” They have also posted information concerning the policy in the cafeteria and on signs outside the doors of each building.
However, despite the enforcement of the new smoke-free policy, smoking appears to be continuing.
“I think the policy has deterred smoking, however I still see smokers,” Iannece said. This is because the policy has not yet gone into full force. According to a statement on Camden County College‘s website, it will become fully implemented on January 1, 2010. The reason for the delay in full enforcement has said to be due to trying to get the student and employee smokers weaned off of smoking on campus.
On the other hand, some smokers on campus say that some of the information provided by the college dealing with the policy goes further than just telling smokers they can’t smoke on campus.
“Instead of just leaving it at we don’t want smoking on the campus because it can harm others and we don’t agree with smoking on campus, it almost seems as though it insults smokers for their personal choice to smoke,” said 19 year old freshman and CCC criminal justice major Matthew Warburton. Warburton is referring to a passage within the policy that says “We all know smoking is bad for our health and is harmful to those around us.” Warburton has also said that because of the way the policy is written, it has in turn made him want to smoke more on campus.
Steve Hetherington, assistant director of Public Safety on the Blackwood campus has said he understands the feelings of the smokers on campus. “I sympathize with them and understand how they feel. I’m a smoker myself, but if I have to smoke, I leave campus,” he said.
In the meantime, students that have been violating the policy receive a yellow warning card informing the students about the policy along with information on the back about how to break addiction to tobacco. Further offenses will result in a referral to the deans office of either of the three campuses.
Once the policy is fully in force, students who violate the policy will be fined $25 and second offenses will result in $50 fines. Littering fees will also be handed out to those who improperly dispose of their cigarettes or other tobacco materials. For instance throwing them on the ground. Visitors will be given the same warning cards as students if they violate the policy. The second time, they will be told to leave the campus and possibly banned.