Up In Smoke: Antioch Bans Smoking

SmokerBy: Erin-Aja Grant

During community meeting, Events Manager, Rory Adams-Chetham preformed civic responsibility by announcing Ohio law, Code Chapter 3794. Rory announced the removal of all ashtrays in the Student Union, as well as the closing of the dance space and pool room if there are any violations. All the dorms have been decorated with the bright paper warnings of fines and punishment that is lurking around the corner for indoor smokers. North dormitory held a “mandatory” meeting last Wednesday that reminded residents about the newly instated rules of engagement. The Director of housing emailed all students on January 22, 2008 to remind all students of the cost of violations and the penalties that will incur if caught smoking in the dormitory residences. If the meetings, signs, and e-mails were not enough, it also happens to be a law. As of 2006 vote, the state of Ohio instated a “smoking ban” in all public spaces. In a recent interview Rory said that she will be asking people to “Take it outside”. From a few table discussions the outcome of this “Smoking Ban” is still up in the air. While students are still smoking indoors the issue remains, the fire department is not wanted here. Milt Thompson verified the fact that fire trucks coming to Antioch are indeed the main problem. The violations have been mounting for years and are no longer going to be taken lightly. For students still mystified about this “smoking ban”, when a fire alarm goes off, fire trucks come. Antioch is an educational institution. Fire trucks come because they do not want a school to burn down on their watch, it reflects poorly on them. That would be bad. Also Antioch has a well established relationship with the Miami Township Fire Rescue. The MTFR is a part of the experience based learning that is a signature key to Antioch’s experience. In many cafeteria conversations students have been discussing the indoor “smoking ban” that has seemed to be an administrative battle for a while. Students have said things ranging from “I support it…finally” to “yeah, they say this every year.” Even after Rory’s plea to the student body students and staff are still smoking in dorms, public spaces, and in office doorways. Validity can be found on both sides of the argument. Administrators have not effectively taken issue with smoking students, but they should not have to, it is the law. While in the code it may be hard to find a direct order speaking to private education institutions it is clear that Miami Township Fire and Rescue have to respect the law. MTFR cannot keep overlooking a school that is not on fire, but just setting off alarms irresponsibly every couple months. In a recent first class posting under pulse, faculty member Christine Smith voiced her concern for smokers and secondhand inhalers. The World Health Organization or WHO have worked together with the EPA to do studies in the early 90’s on the effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke effects. While these results have been debated in the media, conclusions have been reached by this study which link second hand smoke to health risks to non-smokers. The data that these two health organizations have put out is startling. According to WHO’s website tobacco is the only legal consumer product that kills when used exactly as intended by the manufacturer and half of all long-term smokers will die from a tobacco-caused disease. These hefty statements could possibly be why so many people are in support of initiatives like Ohio Chapter Code 3794. The smoking ban by law does call for the removal of all ashtrays and the posting of the signs that are found in the dorms now. If Antioch was to decide not to comply, the health inspector would be asked to come on campus and do an inspection. Many of these things are common knowledge to the students and staff here, yet on Sunday of this past week a fire alarm went off in the Union. The person who set it off has still yet to be found. While smokers have been freezing outside of dorms and the cafeteria there is still a small sliver clinging to this end of an era. Rory and Milt are willing to hear creative methods to maintain the rights of smokers while keeping non-smokers second hand smoke free. The way that the smoking ban will be enforced on campus is still unclear. Beyond threats and signs the fact remains that it is the law. While smokers make a great argument for their rights, quite technically Antioch cannot afford many more hoops to jump through as an institution. Breaking the law because you do not want to go outside has many non smokers quick to say “quit”. Although students are still smoking inside in covert fashion the fact remains, with all the people trying to shut down the school, it would be a shame if in the end it went up in smoke for a cig.