Champlain College works to curb smoking on campus
By Gina Bullard / WCAX
Burlington, Vermont - November 17, 2011
Tyler Ury started smoking cigarettes when he was a sophomore at Champlain College.
"It gets stressful during some periods and I feel like that five-second nicotine breaks cuts back on the stress," he said.
He's now a senior and says smoking is common on campus.
"There is a lot of people here who smoke. We're a very small school, but this whole courtyard is filled with people talking, smoking, even people not smoking are talking to people who are smoking," Ury said.
To address the growing problem, the school teamed up with students to form a smoking policy task force to educate students about the dangers of lighting up.
"Today is important because we're tabling to spread awareness about smoking on campus," said Ariel Grover, a junior.
Awareness also about the impact to nonsmokers. Orange tape on campus marks 20 feet from doors and air intake vents, the recommended smoke-free zone to cut down on secondhand inhalation. According to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke causes almost 50,000 deaths a year.
"A lot of nonsmokers are happy, but the smokers aren't too happy," Grover said.
Professor Jonathan Ferguson is on the task force. He's allergic to cigarette smoke and likes the taped-off areas.
"I basically go around holding my breath and go from clean air spot to clean air spot," Ferguson said.
Champlain College is currently surveying to find out how many students smoke on campus, which could lead to a permanent ban on smoking.
"We have done research and there are over 500 schools that are completely smoke-free right now," Grover said.
But for smokers like Ury, the tape is an inconvenience but not motivation to stop.
Reporter Gina Bullard: Any plans to quit?
Tyler Ury: I always say I do, but I haven't found that perfect moment. But I'm not sure it will be there.
A tough habit to kick, but Champlain College hopes this message of courtesy to nonsmokers does kick in.