Print This Post

Smoking campaign continues to have effects

Posted on 12.11.2013

During the second semester of the 2011-2012 academic year, the Indianapolis Student Government began a campaign to promote the University of Indianapolis’ smoke-free policy. This campaign informed students about the policy and encouraged them to stand up to people not following the policy.

“I think there’s a lot of good stuff that came from it [the campaign]. While it’s not an initiative that we are currently spearheading right now, it’s definitely something that we got a lot out of,” said ISG treasurer Nicole Rodert. “I personally see a lot more students, as they see people smoking on campus, they’re more comfortable going up to them and saying, hey, just so you know, we are a smoke-free campus.”

Rodert was part of committee that spearheaded the campaign. She said that she was motivated to join the committee because breathing in cigarette smoke causes issues with her asthma. While Rodert acknowledges that cigarette smoke physically bothers her, she wants people to know that the campaign was not meant to single out anyone.

“It’s not like we’re trying alienate them [smokers] completely, and I think that’s one thing that got misconstrued during the campaign. There are places for them to smoke just not right outside the buildings,” Rodert said.

According to the UIndy Student Handbook, the entire campus is considered smoke-free. This includes the use of smokeless tobacco products. Smoking is permitted inside of private vehicles or on public streets, including Hanna Avenue and Shelby Street. There is no formal punishment for disobeying the policy, but campus police may ask smokers to move to a designated smoking area.

Rodert believes that the campaign was effective and that the effects can still be seen on campus. According to her, one of the bigger successes was a nonsmoking presentation based on the university’s policy that was created by students in a kinesiology course. This was presented to Marion County and has been picked up to be explored at several other universities.

“I honestly didn’t imagine it growing as big as it did. And it was kind of really awesome to see how much it did take hold on campus and to see that brought in on the campus tours,” Rodert said. “I would hear [student] ambassadors talking about it as they went along and did their campus tours. That’s, in turn, informing people before they get here that it is a smoke-free campus.”

Senior communication major Ilias Metaxas-Mariatos is a native of Greece and has smoked for six years. He said that he has only studied in the United States for one semester and is still adjusting to some of the social stigma that comes with smoking.

“It was a big shock to me, a big change [coming to UIndy],” Metaxas-Mariatos said. “Here, things are totally different from Greece. First of all, in Greece you can smoke everywhere. In Greece, 85 percent of the population smokes. So there is a law about smoking, but nobody respects this law.”

According to Metaxas-Mariatos, smoking was not allowed inside buildings on UIndy’s former Athens campus, where he used to study, but it was allowed everywhere else.

“Yes, we could not smoke inside the building, but we were free to smoke outside in the public streets, apartments. But, generally, at Greek universities you are free to smoke inside the campus. But UIndy is not a Greek university,” Metaxas-Mariatos said.

Metaxas-Mariatos currently lives in Crowe Hall and goes outside of the gates of the parking lot to smoke his average 12 cigarettes a day. He said that he has never been bothered by the walk and has been politely asked to move if he was not smoking in a designated area.

Rodert said this was the main goal of the campaign. She said that although ISG does not have any current plans to revitalize the smoking campaign, it has considered doing smaller advertising on campus.

“Since we don’t have a fine for smoking on campus, [the campaign was about] just making people feel comfortable going up to people and say, hey, just so you know, this is a smoke-free campus,” Rodert said. “Because it’s a lot stronger of a message if one of your peers comes up and says that to you than the police officer comes up to you and says, hey, just so you know, you can’t smoke here.”


RSS Feed  Follow Us on Twitter  Facebook Profile