By Briana Woodruff
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – The on-campus smoking ban has been in effect for several years, yet smoking continues around campus.
Since June 2009, the tobacco ban has remained a divisive topic for smokers and non-smokers attending the Camden County College Blackwood campus. Students have dealt with concerns such as secondhand smoke or walking an extra mile just to smoke a cigarette.
“They’re here all day and they want to smoke one, instead of going off campus to do it,” said student Samatha Pecoraio, 21, a smoker who does not smoke on campus. She and many others feel the campus should have a designated smoking section for those who are frequent smokers.
However, some say the sight of students with cigarettes in hand signifies an inadequate job or lack of enforcement by campus security officers. “I have never seen campus security,” said Dr. Ramosotho Mokgadi, a sociology professor at Camden County College and a non-smoker. “I think students see this as a joke. They don’t really like it that much.”
Newly elected student body president Shaquelle Flowers says more should be done to enforce the tobacco ban. “If people are constantly smoking there must be something wrong; therefore, we need to have more severe repercussions,” Flowers said.
If a student is caught smoking a cigarette on campus the first time, they receive a warning. The second and third time there are fines of $25 and $50. Habitual offenders are left at the mercy of the dean, which can mean disciplinary action.
Some students may view the tobacco ban as a source of punishment for those who do not abide by it, but the Executive Director of Safety and Facilities Edward W. Carney says otherwise. “It’s one of our responsibilities as an educational institution and gives us a better image,” he said. He realizes smoking is a habit and the school’s purpose is not to punish tobacco users but to educate them.