The Georgia Board of Regents has passed a ban on all tobacco products on campus.
The ban was put into place in order to promote the better health of the students and faculty. Although in theory, this appears to benefit the students and faculty as they won’t have to deal with tobacco products being used on campus, its effectiveness and enforceability are limited.
The Board may have passed the ban, but it is conservative in its enforcement by leaving it up to the up to each university to enforce the ban.
This ban affects more than 300 thousand students and 31 colleges and universities; however, the ban also affects much more than students. Professors, maintenance workers and bus drivers will not be able to go on smoke breaks anymore. The smoking shelters could also disappear.
The ban also puts Campus Police forces in an interesting position. What do they do when the see someone smoking? Write them a ticket? Being late to class because you got a ticket for smoking does not exactly sound like a valid excuse. Imagine it coming from a professor.
“Brace yourselves, the tickets are coming.”
Police could write tickets for days for tobacco product usage. First, you might start reading about how a freshman was caught outside their dorm smoking a cigarette in the police reports. Then, with time, as the ban persists, getting a ticket for tobacco product usage will be at the bottom of the criminal offense totem pole, right there with parking tickets.
Outside of the issue of how the system-wide tobacco product ban will be enforced, the ban presents another issue. Does the Board of Regents really have the authority to tell more than 300 thousand people that they cannot use what they are legally entitled to buy?
On a Milledgeville-scale, it will still be be easy to smoke here, just walk across a street. Downtown will now be at least twice as smoke-filled as it already is. Although the ban is large in scope, it’s effect on the Georgia College campus will be much more subliminal: Your stroll to class may be smoke free (if you don’t smoke), or you might find yourself taking a more scenic route (if you do.)