Home CommentaryOpinions Smoke-free zones? Where?

Smoke-free zones? Where?

by Archives November 9, 2005

A couple of weeks ago, conspicuous yellow lines appeared on the ground around campus. Painted in front of building entranceways, the lines delineate what are meant to be no-smoking zones.

Last week some signs even went up on the sidewalks to help students understand what the zones were set out for. They read: “Clean the air. This is a smoke-free perimeter.”

So why are people still smoking in them? On Monday, I witnessed a couple in front of the library building puffing away like mad. Across the street, in front of the Hall building’s main entrance, a young woman was sharing a butt with a thin, jacketless fellow shivering in a t-shirt. Outside of Reggie’s Pub, two students puffed from the steps-all of this inside the new yellow-lined zones.

I guess people just don’t give a cancer-inducing care.

I walked over to one guy licking his rolling paper at the Bishop Street entrance of the Hall building, and asked if he knew the lines were there to show students where they could and couldn’t light up. He just shrugged a “Meh,” and turned away from me to fire up his cancer-stick. Another guy said he didn’t know it was a no-smoking area, and added that people didn’t have time to go outside of the line if they were coming out during class break for a quick dart.

Concordia University, save for a corner of the Hall building where Reggie’s resides, is a non-smoking institution and smokers should respect those who choose not to inhale. It follows that one should not have to push through nicotine infernos just to get inside the buildings. Most people I’ve spoken to, smokers included, complain about having to dodge the myriads of puffing people just to get through the doors.

These coughing zones follow a tried-and-true pattern played out each year. The zones balloon out to the street in September when classes resume and slowly shrink back to the doors with the onset of cooler temperatures. By the time the pre-Christmas exam rush hits, a veritable wall of smokers awaits anyone foolish enough to try and break through their lines.

What’s amazing is that the administration has done nothing until recently to rectify this problem. Now they paint up these new perimeters, but nothing is posted inside the building doors to inform smokers of the new rules. There was nothing advertised in the student press nor in the administration’s paper. The university is doing nothing to spread the word about the new zones and I haven’t seen one Concordia security guard telling people they can’t have a drag within the lines.

It seems these smoke-free zones are only a suggestion and, let’s face it, it’d be ridiculous to try to police them. Even if small fines were levied for smoking inside their perimeters, there’d still be the problem of enforcement. It would be impossible to compel anyone to obey this new suggestion and, under the honour system, people seem determined to continue smoking there anyway. This shows disregard for their fellow students.

In a university where most students pride themselves on being liberal-minded, progressive-thinking people who respect others, the segment of the student body that smokes seems to be showing their true flavour. And it’ll continue long after this King-size pack of students graduates from Con-U.

It’s not such a big deal that people suck on cancer-sticks near the doors. But nor is it a big deal for smokers to step a few metres away from the entrances-and it’s just common courtesy to comply.

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