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Smoking ban sometimes goes up in smoke

By Stephen Sebastian
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – When walking onto the Camden County College campus you may notice a few things – the beautiful green grass, the soon to bloom dogwood trees, and cigarette butts everywhere. Even though CCC banned smoking last year signs of smoking are still prevalent.

Blue signs stating “no cigarettes on campus 25 dollar fine for violators” are in front of every building. Even with the rule in effect students and campus employees are commonly seen smoking, throwing their cigarettes down at the first sign of the policy enforcing security.

While many students view the smoking ban as a positive move, some disagree, looking at the policy as just another method to get money.

Two-year CCC student Thomas Beynon, a cigarette smoker, said he feels the policy is not working.

“People continue to smoke. A $25 fine is not going to deter a stressed college student from sneaking a cigarette,” said Beynon. “The campus looks worse. There are cigarettes littering the ground.”

Security officers at CCC issue a warning to first time offenders, then a $25 fine on the second offense. If the student cannot provide a CCC I.D., they must report to the security office or leave campus.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fewer adults smoke now than five years ago. The highest percentage of smokers are young people. About 24 percent smoke. The aim of the smoking ban is to encourage young people not to smoke and to keep the campus cleaner.

Jake Skelly, a student and former smoker, supports the ban.

“I feel that my right to breathe clean air should exceed the right to smoke,” said Skelly. “A designated smoking area should be allowed for those who choose to smoke; however, the fact that you can’t even smoke in your car is ridiculous.”

Other students say they feel that the policy is almost as impossible to enforce as prohibition was in the 1920s. As the trend gains popularity, more community colleges have been starting a ban.

Campus security could not be reached for comment about the topic.

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