SIU Goes Smoke Free in July


By Evie Allen

CARBONDALE -- SIU Carbondale is going smoke free. Starting July 1 no one will be able to light up anywhere on campus. University leaders say they want to cut down on the danger of second-hand smoke. 

It's common for students to step outside SIU's Student Center for a quick smoke between classes. But not for long. Starting July 1 smoking will be banned campus-wide.

Sophomore Shanell Phipps says she's torn about the new rule. Even though she doesn't smoke. She feels sorry for friends who light up.

"I look at other peoples opinion, other peoples perspective other than just mine and how I feel because I'm not a smoker," says Phipps.

Graduate student Deborah Wilson is a smoker and she's frustrated about the new rule.

"My first gut reaction was, not one more rule," says Wilson.

Wilson says she feels like her rights are being violated.    

"We are adults," she says. "We have the right to make those decisions. We are aware of the health risks. No one in America today believes smoking is good for them."

Chancellor Rita Cheng says health risks from cigarettes include second-hand smoke.

That's why the new regulations will allow students to smoke in their cars and parking lots but not anywhere else on campus. Currently, students can smoke 15 feet away from the buildings.

"It's to connect to a social responsibility not to have an environment that has second-hand smoke," explains Cheng.

Wilson says she understands the purpose but would like to see the university set aside a place for smokers.

"Being on campus for six to eight hours a day and not being able to smoke, probably won't be that big of an issue for me. It's just the frustration of being told I can't," says Wilson.


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