Indiana University advertises itself as a tobacco-free campus; however, as I make my walk to my classes each day, I see the same tables that seem to be designated specifically as the unofficial IU smoking tables.
As a person with asthma and a student of voice performance, I tend to take great care in noticing when I am in the vicinity of cigarette smoke. That's why it concerns me when I walk by tables around campus and find a group of students smoking.
In 2008, the IU Trustees implemented a policy that prohibited all smoking and the distribution of tobacco products on campus.
That was a great first step to putting an end to smoking on campus. Now, the next step is to start enforcing it. It has been nearly a decade since the policy was implemented, and the University still has not put an end to this problem.
The policy’s sanctions simply encourage people “not only to comply with the policy, but also to encourage others to comply, in order to promote a healthy environment in which to work, study and live.”
This encouragement and the social contract that IU is trying to promote is an implicit one, but actual enforcement and repercussions should be in order. Asking students to self-regulate isn't enough.
The Indiana University Police Department should be challenged with the task of not only upholding local, state and federal laws, but also enforcing IU’s smoking policy. Creating a tobacco-free campus is not a job for the students themselves, but rather, it is a job for the IUPD.
It is also necessary that IU implements a fine for breaking these statutes in the same way that there are designated fines for parking violations. It should be nearly as simple as that, too, since so much of the smoking happens at the same outdoor tables throughout campus all year long.
IU has attempted to create this policy in accordance with the Indiana State Law on smoking; however, that law in itself is too lenient.
For the most part, all that the state laws require is for campuses and public places to put signs on entrances acknowledging it's a tobacco-free environment, as well as restrain from providing ashtrays on its property.
IU has done a fair job at advertising its tobacco-free campus, but an advertising campaign simply is not enough. The officers of the IUPD must take their jobs a step past enforcing lenient state laws by enforcing the laws of the University, too.
Along with this, IU must enact specific fines and repercussions for breaking its statutes. This will be the only effective method of creating and promoting a healthy, smoke-free environment for its students, faculty and visitors.