Dr. David Pennington, associate professor of history, smokes a cigarette as he walks to his classes each day. His students could have the opportunity to vote on a smoking ban next month. Pennington’s tradition would be in jeopardy, but he does not consider the proposed ban a bad thing.
“It might help me break the habit of having a cigarette before I teach every single class,” Pennington said. “The way smoking works is you associate it with certain things, anything that breaks those particular times and situations where you smoke is probably a good thing.”
Webster’s Student Government Association (SGA) approved a measure for students to vote on whether or not they want to ban smoking on campus. The ban would include electronic cigarettes, vape pens and oral tobacco products. The policy states exceptions will be made to students who live on campus, but those students will have to get approval from the Office of Housing and Residential Life. SGA is in the final steps of getting the policy on next month’s ballot and is awaiting final word from administration.
Pennington is not alone in his routine between lessons. Alex McClellan, a student at Webster, said he smokes a pack a day when school is in session to relax between classes.
“It’s kind of a little stress reliever to put the break in the day,” McClellan said. “I like to be able to walk and smoke so that way I’m not going out of my way for anything.”
McClellan said he can see both sides to the issue, but will vote against the ban.
“Personally I would like to able to smoke freely,” McClellan said.
Shelby Culli, a student at Webster, said she would vote for the ban because smoking makes her uncomfortable.
“It smells nasty and makes me want to cough,” Culli said. “I think that if you want to smoke, do it in privacy on your own property.”
Culli also said she would vote for the ban because of the health hazards related to secondhand smoke.
“I feel like there have been studies showing that you can still get lung cancer from secondhand smoke,” Culli said. “I think there is data that goes behind it to prove it.”