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Student Health Advisory Committee looks to ban tobacco, e-cigarettes on campus

Kierra Carr

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The Student Health Advisory Committee has collected more than 200 signatures, with more coming in, to pass a bill which would make the UW Oshkosh campus tobacco-free.

Amy Hodel, a member of the Student Health Advisory Committee said if you grow up in a home where tobacco use isn’t normal, and you go to a school where tobacco-use isn’t the norm, you are much less likely to become addicted to tobacco products.

“Our primary goal of this initiative is to help people to not start smoking and prevent tobacco use initiation,” Hodel said.

Aaron Wojciechowski, a leading member of the Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative, said he strongly believes this is the right step for UWO even though there have been some opponents who say this is marginalizing smokers or attacking someone’s right to smoke.

“The bottom line is that this proposal is to better the environment and health of UW Oshkosh, for the students,” Wojciechowski said.

UWO senior Tyler Hahn said he thinks this policy is a full-fledged ban and is not only unnecessary, due to its absolute inability to be enforced, but also infringes on personal liberties.

“I, myself, am not a smoker, and I know plenty of other non-smokers who are not for such action,” Hahn said. “They would rather see better designated smoking area, and more resources to quit than a moral ban which achieves nothing and costs us money.”

Hodel said the policy could help students fight their tobacco addiction.

“This policy is to help motivate students to quit and support those who are trying to quit/cut back or maintain a tobacco-free lifestyle,” Hodel said.

UWO junior Taylor Gilmet said if this campus becomes tobacco-free, the University will experience a drop in enrollment because it discourages smokers from wanting to apply to UWO.

“It’s a stupid idea and if people are worried about secondhand smoke then don’t walk by me when I’m smoking,” Gilmet said.

Wojciechowski said students deserve to walk around campus without smoke being blown in their face, or without having to step on cigarette butts on the sidewalk and grass.

“I stress the main purpose of the initiative which is to create a cleaner, safer and healthier environment for the UW Oshkosh campus and its students,” Wojciechowski said.

UW Oshkosh junior Jasmine Pickett said people are old enough to be able to smoke if they would like to. However, the health of the individuals around people smoking on campus can be affected.

“I don’t think that the policy is a bad idea,” Pickett said. “I think that the policy will make the campus and the individuals on this campus healthier.”

Hodel said she believes the student body now has the opportunity to take a stand in regards to the values of health of all people for our learning community through the use of the referendum.

“We went around campus and asked students the question: Do you support a Tobacco-Free Campus at UW Oshkosh and want the opportunity for students to vote via referendum?” Hodel said.

Hodel said she publicized the Student Health Advisory Committee’s primary goals through the use of social media and written works to ensure the student body has ample amount of information about the tobacco-free policy.

“Aaron Wojciechowski and I, along with other members of the Student Health Advisory Committee, have sent our various emails to clubs and organizations,” Hodel said.

Hodel said the Student Health Advisory Committee is very dedicated to making this a student-run decision-making process and voting will take place on March 14 and 15.

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Student Health Advisory Committee looks to ban tobacco, e-cigarettes on campus