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Campus reacts to new smoking ban

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
July 24, 2010 at 2:24 a.m.

Cindy Woods

A campuswide smoking ban is sparking debate at Victoria College.

The policy bans smoking on the entire property, including inside personal cars in parking lots.

Cindy Wood, VC director of food service, said she'll adjust her smoking habits to comply with the ban. Wood, who manages four locations on campus and sometimes works 12-hour shifts, smokes a half a pack of cigarettes a day.

She plans to smoke in her car when she makes trips off campus, along with using other coping measures.

"I have lots of hard candies and Dum Dums," she said.

The college administration worked with the student government to come up with the plan. The students held two meetings to develop solutions.

In the end, the students recommended the administration add more designated smoking areas, said Kathryn Wilson, Victoria College Student Government Association vice president.

"We gave our opinions, and administration has decided to go a different route," she said.

The campus has only two designated smoking areas. Some students believed smoking in those areas is not enforced.

"Every time I see someone smoking it's by a no-smoking sign," said Matthew Brennan, an education student.

Many students question if the new ban will be enforced.

"It's a good idea in theory but, at the same time, how long is it going to last," said Brittany Mowdy, a music student. "No one's going to listen."

The ban will be enforced by the three-member VC police force and three security officers.

"I think the majority of our students will honor our policy because it's the right thing to do," said Tom Butler, VC president. Disobeying the policy could mean a fine after multiple offenses.

Butler does not believe enforcement will be an obstacle.

"I think it might be different. I don't think it will be more difficult," he said.

Eighteen college campus in Texas have a campus-wide smoke ban.

The University of Houston-Victoria, which shares its campus, is considering a ban.

"We haven't made a final decision, but we're thinking about moving in that direction," said Wayne Beran, vice president for administration and finance.

People cannot smoke in UHV facilities or within 12 feet of a building entrance.

At the last president's cabinet meeting the president asked student, faculty and staff leaders to gather opinions about possible options.

Beran said the cabinet could look at the policy again Wednesday.

Butler hopes the ban will address health concerns and littering.

Wood believes it might also help her stop her addiction.

"It's just as bad as any illegal drug," she said. "If it doesn't help me quit, it's definitely going to help me cut down."

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