The University of South Carolina as well as six other colleges and universities in the state are considering banning tobacco on campus, according to the University Herald, which specializes in university-related breaking news. While there are similar smoking bans and tobacco bans at other universities in the United States, this move comes as a surprise in South Carolina, which is one of the nation’s leading tobacco growers and producers.
As the largest university in the state, the University of South Carolina campus-wide tobacco ban would be big news and send quite the message. This ban would mean that the 40,000 people who live, work, study and play on the University of South Carolina campus would no longer be allowed to smoke. In fact, people who are visiting the university for a football game would not be able to smoke on university property — even in the tailgating parking lots.
The ban would prevent people from smoking cigarettes of any type, including electronic cigarettes (also known as e-cigarettes) and smokeless cigarettes. Harris Pastides, the president of the University of South Carolina, has stated that the university is exploring the ban in order to promote health and wellness across the campus. Pastides was formerly the dean of the School of Public Health at the university, so his passion for this ban does not come as a surprise to many.
Throughout the 2012-2013 school year, a task force made up of about 40 people discussed creating this particular tobacco ban. The members of the task force are all members of the University of South Carolina community. Ultimately, this group came to the decision that a tobacco ban would be beneficial for the public health of the campus as well as the image of the University of South Carolina. The final decision rests in the hands of Pastides. While he has publicly said he is leaning towards going tobacco-free, he will probably not make the final decision until the end of the summer.
University officials can expect reactions to be mixed if they do decide to move forward with the smoking ban. While some students will enjoy being able to walk through campus without dodging cigarette smoke and looking at littered cigarette butts, others will feel like some of their freedom is being taken away by their university. Colleges across the country who have made similar bands have found that some students will go to great lengths to try and get the bans repealed. For instance, the University Herald notes, some students at Clemson University have formed petitions in order to protest their campus-wide smoking ban.
If the University of South Carolina and other colleges and universities across the state do move forward to become a tobacco-free campus, they will be in good company. According to American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, there are just under 2,000 schools across the country who have banned smoking and tobacco from their campuses. In many ways, it appears the days of smoking after class are nearly gone.