No Consequences for Students who Smoke Outside of Designated Zones

By Mackenzie Robertson, Staff Writer, and Christina Urban, News Editor

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Cigarette butts left outside of the Blanton Hall smoking area.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

As of right now there are currently no consequences if students, faculty and staff smoke outside of the designated smoking areas the university implemented this semester.

The smoke-free zones are there as learning tools before the school is completely smoke-free. Graduate student at Health Promotion Jessica Marino explained that there are no punishments or fines, but there may be in the future once the other stages of the smoke-free campus mission take place.

“[Health Promotion has] been promoting our new designated smoking areas,” Marino said.

Captain Kieran Barrett of the University Police Department said the police and law enforcement have no involvement with the smoke-free zones. He said it is not a criminal act until someone smokes inside of a building.

The administration has sent out various emails to Montclair State students that explain the university’s plan to make the campus 100 percent smoke-free. This means that students will not be permitted to smoke tobacco or use e-cigarettes and vapes on campus as of fall 2020.

The school has launched workshop sessions that will allow smokers refuge if they want to quit smoking. There are tobacco cessation groups set in place to run for four weeks throughout the month of October.

The first phase of this process has been initiated and designated smoking areas have popped up all over campus. There has been positive feedback from students who feel this will keep the campus clean and smoke free.

“I enjoy the smoking areas,” said Robyn Marella, an undeclared sophomore. “But I don’t think the school should go 100 percent smoke free.”

Marella observed that even when they are crowded, the designated areas are far enough away from entrances so it won’t bother people that are coming and going. However, students have noticed the accumulation of cigarette butts lying around these new areas.

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Designated Smoking Areas are placed in different parts of campus.
Therese Sheridan | The Montclarion

Some students have expressed their enthusiasm for the new smoking areas due to their past experiences before the policies were put in place.

“Outside of Blanton was just a dizzying cloud of smoke,” said Erick Del Rio, an undeclared sophomore. “Going to sleep with the smell of tar and other deadly chemicals doesn’t really constitute as a good night of sleep.”

Resident students like Del Rio were living near popular smoking areas and experienced the smoke daily. This was the change they had been hoping for.

While some students see the benefit to having these smoking policies in place, others are upset with the school’s decision. Many students disagree with the goal to be a 100 percent smoke-free campus. Some smokers are unhappy with this change and have stated that smoking is not illegal, and they have every right to smoke freely. Dajaun Adams, an undeclared freshman, expressed his frustration with these policies and how they would not be beneficial.

“I do smoke cigarettes occasionally and I vape,” Adams said. “It’s not bothering anyone and it’s not hurting anyone.”

Adams sees the benefit in smoking in unrestricted areas because it allows him to pick a peaceful place to calm down and relax alone or with friends.

“During smoke breaks you can make new friends by asking for a lighter or chilling to smoke or vape,” Adams said.

Montclair State has made efforts to try to make students more aware of the dangers of smoking. However, instead of forcing policies directly on campus, some students feel the university needs to teach smokers new ways to cope with stress.

“I don’t like the fact that they jumped right into it,” said Marcus Flax, a sophomore psychology major. “They need to teach people new ways to cope with stress rather than just smoking.”

Students like Flax see that the university has good intentions for smokers but think that other actions need to be taken to help students quit smoking.

“I just feel that rather than alienating the smokers, the school needs to help them instead,” Flax said.

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The new Designated Smoking Area outside of Blanton Hall.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

Many students have decided to disagree with the university’s motion to go 100 percent smoke-free and believe that smokers will disregard the policies anyway.

“Trust me, if you’re a smoker and want a boag, you’re gonna have a boag,” said freshman psychology major Rebecca Livi.

Livi feels that because she is a legal adult, she has the right to smoke a cigarette when she so pleases.

Some students that smoke on campus are starting to feel like their rights are being limited by people telling them not to smoke and eventually not allowing them to.

Until the campus goes smoke free in the fall of 2020, students can smoke in designated areas located near Machuga Heights, Dinallo Heights, Blanton Hall, Hawk Crossings, Central Receiving, Russ Hall, Sprague Library, the Student Center, the Village, Feliciano School of Business and the Center for Clinical Services in Lot 60.

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