Editorial: Don’t blow smoke; enforce smoking ban

The University became a smoke-free campus in January of 2014 — but that’s not something you’d know if you walked around campus. Despite the fact that we call ourselves “smoke-free,” cigarette smoking on campus is near-ubiquitous, even though it isn’t as prevalent of an issue as before the ban.

This campus still seems far from free of smoke — the repercussions of which are felt by everyone on campus (and their lungs).

If you’re going to do something, do it all the way. The University has dappled with different tactics, such as implementing signs and culture campaigns to change the usage on campus. But none of this has been enforced, which students recognize. The result is a smoke-free campus, essentially in name only.

Finally, after more than a year and a half of half-hearted attempts, the University has set specific punishments for smoking on campus, which were released in a campus-wide email Tuesday.

Under the new regulations, when someone is caught smoking on campus, they will receive a written warning. After that initial warning, the person smoking will be fined by increments of $25 for each violation. By the fourth warning, the fine increases to $100 per violation.

The Daily Illini Editorial Board has always stood in support of the smoking ban, a needed ban to make our campus healthier. However, enforcement has always been lacking.

This is partially understandable; because of our nonconsecutive campus, many people still struggle with recognizing where smoking is banned, and where smokers can “exercise” (and kill) their carcinogen-lined lungs.

We understand the obvious struggle enforcing a smoking ban when the campus lines can be so convoluted, but it’s still crucial for the University to understand that being a nonconsecutive campus is not an excuse for the smoke-free program to fail. Hopefully, these new regulations will be strictly enforced and prove the smoking ban effective once and for all.

While we appreciate the effort put forth by the University to increase the program’s success, we need to merge practicality and effectiveness. Calling a police officer whenever someone is smoking is unnecessary; having constant police patrols on campus property is frivolous.

We need the smoking ban to work to ensure the health and safety of students and faculty, and while these regulations are a step in the right direction, we are still left with questions that need to be answered.