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KU student pushing for smoking ban on campus


Here's something on which I'm guessing some of you have opinions: One KU student is pushing for KU's Lawrence campus to be completely smoke-free.

Her name is Ashley Hrabe, she's a sophomore from Salina and she's been involved with the Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition since she was in high school.

She says she wants the campus ultimately to become entirely tobacco-free, meaning you couldn't smoke or use smokeless tobacco anywhere on campus (that's already been the case at the KU Medical Center since 2006). But because these things are easier if taken step-by-step, right now she's just pushing to go smoke-free.

KU policy already prohibits smoking inside or within 20 feet of any building, because of a state law enacted in 2010. Hrabe's proposed smoke-free policy would prohibit smoking anywhere on campus.

She met Tuesday with student, faculty and staff leaders at a University Senate committee meeting, and she has the support of some Student Senate leaders. Some details would need to be addressed before this went into place: whether people could smoke in their cars; how it would be enforced (and by whom); what to do about football games at Memorial Stadium, where smoking is allowed in designated areas on the ramps outside.

I'm planning a more detailed look at the effort soon. But for now: What do you think? Is it time for KU to go entirely smoke-free? Or is that too big of a step?

Discuss below, or send your thoughts, along with your KU news tips, to merickson@ljworld.com.

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  • Comments

    kuguardgrl13 5 years ago

    I believe the current policies on campus were in place prior to 2010. If you read the linked document, it's dated 1993.

    Being a nonsmoker, I would certainly support a full ban on campus, although I know it's unfair to those who do smoke. Maybe they need to better mark what 20 feet actually is. There were a few times when students groups chalked 20 feet, but of course it doesn't stay. It'd certainly be nice for the students living in Hashinger. Smoking on the "stoop" has become fairly common in recent years.

    merickson 5 years ago

    You're right: The smoking policy went into place in 1993. But it was revised to include the 20-foot rule in 2010, per this memo:


    Thanks, Matt

    oldvet 5 years ago

    Ah, time to organize a "Big Smoke" on Wescoe Beach...

    wizzlewuzzle 5 years ago

    All this does is screw over the teachers. The students go in and out of campus often. Plus the students are only around for a few years, the teachers spend careers there.

    There are plenty of other ways to tell people how to live their lives. How about banning sugary drinks, candy, junk food, caffeine, headphones, cellphones, gas powered vehicles, diesel powered vehicles, the list can go on. These are all things that have proven to harm people.

    Why nicotine?

    Because it's popular to protest and has a small following.

    Armored_One 5 years ago

    You do realize even the EPA admits that the studies that it did between 1960 and 1987 are based on faulty information, as human lungs are wet and all of the materials that they used to pruduce their results as to second hand smoke were, in fact, dry.

    wizzlewuzzle 5 years ago

    In order to have second hand smoke be a killer you must be in a confined space with it. Junk food is more of a killer than second hand smoke could ever wish to be. Based on your defense of the junk food, the well being of your fellow man is not behind your comments. Perhaps you enjoy the junk food and don't want it taken away from you.

    elliottaw 5 years ago

    To because it can kill the people around the smoker

    Armored_One 5 years ago

    Anyone ever wanted to sit down and get a list of people that are pushing for a tobacco-free this or that, especially the ones that want to abolish it completely?

    I'd like to have that list, personally. That way, when they get their way adn tobacco is gone, kind of like we got rid of alcohol all those years ago, when states raise taxes and slash higher education funding, we can track them down and get their opinion on the price hike.

    Yeah, I smoke. I've also buried one family member from smoking related cancer, and am watching another die from cancer. The choice, however, is mine, not yours to make and until they create an engine that doesn't produce 3600 times the amount of carbon monoxide that a smoker does, stick it in your tailpipe. "The people" have voted multiple times to limit this "right" and that "right". It's personal comfort that you are concerned about, not things like fire retardants being used in Gatorade as a "flavor suspension chemical", car exhaust, food preservatives and cancer causing agents in the water.

    Either put up with the tobacco or eat the higher taxes. You cannot remove a source of income without taxes increasing. If you doubt me, do the simple math. Kansas is facing, thanks to Brownback's lack of tax savvy, a huge budget shortfall in the coming years. A negative added to a negative does not make to end total closer to zero.

    Armored_One 5 years ago

    I guarantee you that it will be by raising taxes and if you don't believe that, you are an utter fool. How many state economies were bolstered into the black by teh tobacco lawsuit payouts? Funny how that money was supposed to be spent on quitting smoking programs and other such things, but was, in fact, used to pave roads, give lawmakers pay raises and other such things, while at the same times, those same states proceeded to whine and moan about the cost of smoking related illnesses.

    And yes, smoking is just as much a right as anything else when it comes to self determination. Tobacco is a legal product, sold for profit on the open market, regulated and taxed just like a Big Mac or a television set. Again, it is personal comfort levels since I have NEVER read, from any legitimate health publication or any medical research paper that stated someone developed cancer from one cigarette.

    It's funny how no one wants their taxes raised to pay for public education, health care, public transportation maintenance, or a myriad of other things, but without tobacco taxes, all three of those things, among others, will be the first victims of budget slashing, since pay cuts, benefit reduction or paying back political favors will be the last to be touched, if they are even mentioned in the first place.

    "...we can figure out a way to live without tobacco tax revenue."

    Yup, we can, after we bail out entire state economies.

    Kate Rogge 5 years ago

    Why do you believe smoking isn't a right for the citizen making the choice to smoke? I agree with Armored_One. Molly Ivins said it best: http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19940808&slug=1924211

    gccs14r 5 years ago

    You're way off on your pollution figures for modern engines. A modern 2 liter gas engine spinning 2000 rpm for a minute produces less pollution than does one cigarette.

    billbodiggens 5 years ago

    Was once a heavy smoker but got tired of the hassle and the expense. In any event, I am just wondering who would run a 2 liter engine at 2000 rpm for only one minute? When such comparisons are made are we talking about theoretical results or reality?

    Armored_One 5 years ago

    The average compact car produces right about.6 pounds of carbon monoxide per mile operated.

    The average smoker, according to the Alighty EPA, produces .1666 pounds of carbon monoxide in a year.

    Somehow, I think the car ends up with the higher total, but I suppose my math could be wrong. Let's check, shall we?

    .6lbs/m x 7500 m = 4500lbs.

    Yup, 2.5 tons is definately a smaller amount than .1666 pounds. Golly Gee Willickers, I guess I was wrong. Care to try again, or have you had enough math class for the time being?

    gccs14r 5 years ago

    Six pounds? LOL. Where'd you get that number? The EPA limit for CO is 3.4 GRAMS per mile.


    So we take 3.4 gpm x 15000 miles = 51000 grams per year, which comes out to 112 pounds. Try again.

    Armored_One 5 years ago

    Uhmm, you left a few vital tidbits of information in your "alert", GC.

    1. It only applies to vehicles made after 2004. States it right under the first chart, but I suppose you might have over looked that.

    2. There is no clarrification as to which type of car is in which 'bin', as the chart displays the information.

    3. I am SO glad you can read the things that I post. I clearly typed in .6, not just 6. Attention to detail really helps.

    So I don't feel teh need to try again, since you are using just a smattering of information, in the form of a nealy undecipherable government chart, with no true information breakdown, or explanation.

    I also guarantee you that there are more cars on the road that do not meet that requirement than newer ones that have been forced into compliance. Anything made before 2004 did not have to meet those requirements.

    I also just HAVE to point out, because I am just that kind of a guy, that you are not disputing an iota of my facts about CO emissions from a smoker. .16 pounds in a calendar year versus 112, just using your math, is right around 6000 times larger in favor of the cars, and not in a good way. With an estimated 46 million smokers and and transit census numbers show over 240 million cars, you do the very basic math.

    gccs14r 5 years ago

    So what kind of comparison did you intend to make with this sentence: "... and until they create an engine that doesn't produce 3600 times the amount of carbon monoxide that a smoker does,..." Did you mean on an annual basis, or do you really think that what comes out of a car's tailpipe is more dangerous than what you purposely inhale via cigarette?

    Per-liter emissions of a gas engine are much cleaner than are those of a cigarette. It's safer to stand next to an idling car than next to a smoker, even if total annual emissions are higher for the car. I don't recommend standing near either one if it can be helped, though.

    Armored_One 5 years ago

    Airborne gases spread out, correct?

    Airborne gases require concentration to spread, correct?

    Yes, I know for a fact that what comes out of a car's exhaust pipe is more dangerous than out of a cigarette's filter. I have never once heard of anyone being locked in a car with a smoker that has died, but I HAVE heard about all sorts of people that have stuck a garden hose up the tailpipe, stuck the other end inside the car with them, turned on the engine and committed suicide.

    If the [expletive deleted] coming out of the tail end of the car can kill in minutes whereas I have never seen anyone just keel over dead from secondhand smoke, which do you really think is more dangerous to the populace as a whole?

    Wait a second. I'm scared of what answer you might give, so never mind...

    gccs14r 4 years, 12 months ago

    A liter of car exhaust is much less dangerous than a liter of cigarette smoke is.

    Armored_One 4 years, 12 months ago

    How fast do you achieve each, though?

    A tack hammer can bash someone's head in, but a sledgehammer is faster. Never said smoking is safe. Guns and tobacco are the only two things that if you use them the correct method, someone or something dies.

    Also find it somewhat amusing that there is all this hoopla about cigarette smoking, but the instant someone raises the issue of addiction, well, the smoker is shoved to teh side, because alcohol addiction and meth clinics are so much more important...

    Don't see any clinics for stopping smoking, just a pill and out the door ya go to deal with it yourself, despite it being labelled as more addictive than pure heroin.

    But I propose a test, to prove which is more toxic.

    I'll smoke for 20 years and you breathe straight car exhaust for 20 minutes. Since I've already done my part, how about you do your part, or are you unwilling to put your money where your mouth is? Oh, as we have to do it in a confined space, say a car garage...

    Paul Wilson 5 years ago

    My Mom died in 2008 from lung cancer directly related to smoking for 25 years. She quit smoking in 1996. I do not smoke.

    I don't believe we should ban smoking. I do think it should not be allowed within 50+ feet of a doorway. You people stink...bad. No matter how much gum or perfume/cologne you use...your aura is vile. When a non smoker has to walk through your stench to enter a public building, that's when it needs to be dealt with.

    I also believe that we should have to take random blood exams to qualify for medical insurance. Especially government charity. If you have any nicotine in your blood...you're out for six months and have to be tested every month after that till clean. 'They' already do this for life insurance. You want affordable health care...???

    bad_dog 5 years ago

    "They", being life insurance companies, ask about tobacco usage in applications for coverage. "They" ask about this because there is a direct correlation between tobacco usage and impact upon morbidity & mortality. Policies valued at less than 100K don't usually require physical exams, or blood or urine samples. "They" merely take the applicants' word for policies of this value.

    When required, blood samples are taken in conjunction with the application and never randomly as you suggest. I would think even suggesting such an invasion of individual privacy; to say nothing of the associated expense, would be repulsive to you.

    Armored_One 5 years ago

    "You people stink...bad"

    Now didn't I mention, earlier, that this was a comfort level issue. It irritates your level of comfort, so it qualifies as NIMBY.

    gatekeeper 5 years ago

    BS on having blood exams to qualify for med insurance. My husband smokes and has had perfect attendence for 12 years. He rarely ever gets ill. I know a lot of people that don't smoke and get sick at the drop of a hat. Yes, bad habits can affect your health. Genes play a huge role. Everyone in his family lives until their late 90's (bad habits or not) and don't have major health issues. So, you want smokers denied for insurance, then also do gene testing to see who is carryin genes that make them prone to health issues and ban them too.

    BigDog 5 years ago

    It's amazing to hear so many who talk about freedoms and tolerance constantly wanting to take away freedoms they do not agree with or trying to stifle legal activity. By the way I am not a smoker.

    Pork Ribs ..... I would be good with that proposal as long as insurance companies also check weight and cholestorol level for insurance purposes too. Obesity and poor eating habits also contribute to higher medical costs for others.

    iShep 5 years ago

    Yeah let's ban all the fatty foods in the Underground because obesity is the leading cause of death in the US. That makes sense -_- this whole thing is ridiculous.

    iShep 5 years ago

    Is this seriously a thing? I don't smoke, and I think this is ridiculous. Why does it matter? Smokers choose to smoke, so let them. The only time it really affects you is when you make a big deal about it. Around campus, I notice a lot of people smoking within the warning signs and just discarding their butts on the ground and not in a bin. Let's make a push for responsible smoking. Does smoking have to be banned? Is that the only solution? What are we saying by banning smoking all over KU campus? We should accept everyone. Who are you to draw the line of right and wrong by banning smoking? You're not going to die from a bit of second-hand smoke, and if you're going to let catching a whiff of it as you walk out of Budig ruin your day then maybe you have bigger problems you need to deal with. This is ridiculous. I will not support anything that aims to ban smoking all across campus.

    bad_dog 5 years ago

    Must be a bunch of liberals running things in Topeka. Who knew?

    abw2102 5 years ago

    I don't necessarily think it should be banned altogether on campus but I would much prefer it if there were designated smoking areas. Whenever I try to eat lunch outside the Kansas Union I can't find a single table where there isn't a smoker nearby and it really ruins the whole experience of trying to get some fresh air. As a non-smoker it would be nice if there were outdoor spaces that were smoke-free. Twenty feet of clear air next to the door doesn't really help and it's not enforced anyway.

    RDE87 5 years ago

    It’s so annoying in between classes to be walking behind someone who is smoking! I am all for going smoke free. Heck NCY did it in their public parks, I don't see why it would be an issue.

    cateastrophe 5 years ago

    This ban would really only support people who think their opinions should be pushed onto everyone else. It doesn't protect the health of nonsmokers and the argument that it promotes smoking cessation is ridiculous. It is forcing something that should be a choice. If nicotine is banned, so then should caffeine, saturated fat, high fructose corn syrup and fluoridated water. All things scientifically proven to do harm to the body as well and/or become addictive. Also, if smokeless tobacco is banned, then are nicotine patches as well, since those contain nicotine?

    gatekeeper 5 years ago

    Good point! smokeless tobacco isn't harming any other students. So, is their issue with nicotine or smoke?

    How many of these kids that want smoking banned lay in the sun, potentially causing skin cancer? There are so many things we all do that are bad for our health. They should enforce the no smoking near entrances, but banning it completely is ridiculous. What a nanny state we're becoming.

    Jen43 5 years ago

    So what haappens if someone gets caught smoking on campus? Arrest them? Or a note in their personnel file if they are employees? Will the smokers go across the street like the LHS students do to smoke in people's yards? I don't smoke and avoid places where it is allowed.

    Smoking is an addiction and smokers will go to extreme measures to light up. Non-smokers don't understand that and think it is just a habit that can be turned off like a switch. I once knew a non-smoking woman who would hide the ashtrays in the office and also hide the cigarette lighters in the company vehicles. Her theory seemed to be that if the smokers can't find a way to light up or dispose of the butts, then they would simply forego smoking.

    Armored_One 5 years ago

    Well, if they do ban it, I plan on buying the biggest, foulest smelling cigar I can find. After lighting it, I plan on marching through campus and when confronted by whatever enforcement agency gets this unlucky task, I'll explain my motives.

    I'm protesting, which doesn't require a permit since I am not impeding traffic nor is the gathering of sufficient size to present a crowd management issue.

    Arrest me if you like and I will go talk with the ACLU about my right to protest being infringed upon. KU is a state run university, not a private one, so I can legally claim the above.

    Kirk Larson 5 years ago

    I'd be satisfied if smokers learned not to toss their butts. I smoked for 12 or 13 years and after the first couple I never tossed my butts. It's bad enough that people smoke, but only stupid people litter.

    yourworstnightmare 5 years ago

    This would be tough on the facilities folks and groundskeepers. They smoke like chimneys and chew like goats on campus. Every loading dock is littered with their discarded cigarette butts.

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