After 87 years, AC goes smoke-free

people smoking
The caption for this photo from the 1964 Amarillo College yearbook reads, “Darlene Hughes assists Andy Keller in lighting a cigarette.”

By JENNA GIBSON, Ranger Reporter

Put down those vape pens, cigarettes and tobacco, Amarillo College is now smoke-free. As of Monday, Aug. 1, smoking is no longer permitted on Amarillo College campuses.The AC Board of Regents passed this ban Jan. 26 after a proposal initiated by the Student Government Association (SGA). All AC campuses are entirely smoke-free, both indoors and out. This prohibits the use of all cigarettes, vapes and tobacco products on AC grounds, and smoking is banned within 20 feet of any building entrance.

According to the Board of Regents the policy states, “Smoking of any tobacco products and the use of electronic or vapor smoking devices are prohibited on all Amarillo College property and in buildings and facilities on all campuses and locations, including parking areas, green spaces and walkways. The use of tobacco products which are smokeless and vaporless is prohibited inside any College building. This policy does not apply to East Campus Housing.”

Students and faculty have kept quiet about their thoughts on the ban so far, though that may change come the beginning of fall semester. Bob Austin, vice president of student affairs, said he thinks it will take a while to communicate the smoking policy to everyone; however, he does not expect to see any protesters. “I suspect that I will be required to address a few smoking issues in the upcoming semester but it definitely won’t be the most significant work that I do,” Austin said. “Frankly, I think that most faculty and students have forgotten about the change. Signs regarding the new policy are posted, so I expect that there will be renewed interest in this topic. That being said, I fully expect smokers to find the most convenient locations where they are allowed to smoke and that, in some cases, they will stand directly on the line,” he added.

David Lovejoy, a mass media major, said he has heard little from people about the ban. “Vaping is more of an issue than tobacco users on campus. I have been in classes where they assume it is OK to use these devices. Of course there will be people who get upset about the ban. In today’s world everyone takes every rule as a personnel affront that we all must wail and moan about. It comes down to the simple fact that it is a privilege to be here on campus,” Lovejoy said, adding he is interested to see how the ban will be enforced and hopes the AC Police department does not get “tied up” with it. “I do smoke cigarettes and cigars and I have no problem with the ban. My bad habits should not be the health burden of others. I do believe that the campus should be tobacco free and not just smoke free. I am far more put off by a cup full of dip spit left lying about than a cigarette butt,” Lovejoy said. “I see how the ban will limit my chances to smoke and in turn will reduce how much I smoke and maybe help me in quitting,” he added.

Joseph Wyatt, AC web content producer said, “Some people will be stunned to learn that a no-smoking policy is now in effect at AC, while others, even among the smokers, will simply take the news in stride.” “I do smoke,” Wyatt said. “I do not like it when my smoke annoys others. I smoke where I believe others will be least or at least marginally affected, but I understand also that the world is changing and it’s time that we do even more to respect the airspace of others; I’m OK with it….I’ll also quit hiking to the park the minute the policy is rescinded,” he added. Wyatt said he expects smokers will continue to find places where smoking is permissible, which is off AC property, adding, “Each campus has its own geography. In my case, should I choose to smoke — and I probably will — there is a city park just a stone’s throw to the south of my office, so I predict that you will find me there every so often. I do not expect to be alone because other smokers no doubt will find the park to be equally convenient.”
Free smoking cessation classes with free nicotine replacement products (patches, gum, lozenges) will be available monthly.

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