Report: Several South Carolina Universities Considering Tobacco -

USC, Clemson May Ban Tobacco on Campuses

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Campus-wide bans against smokers could spread to several South Carolina universities. Campus-wide bans against smokers could spread to several South Carolina universities.

Both the University of South Carolina and Clemson are considering banning tobacco completely from their campuses. USC has a 40 member committee and Clemson has a task force, both of which are working out the details of the policies.

At USC, tobacco is already banned inside campus buildings, within 25 feet of buildings, and in outdoor areas like sporting events, courtyards, patios, decks and outdoor eating areas providing by dining services on campus. The new policy being worked on would make the entire campus tobacco free. That means the thousands of people who tailgate outside Williams-Brice stadium would not be allowed to use tobacco.

The ban includes all tobacco products, not just cigarettes.

USC senior Alex Bertrand, a smoker, says, "I can understand where smoking comes into play because of second-hand smoke, but no one's getting second-hand chewing tobacco or second-hand whatever, so I don't really see the point in that."  

USC spokesman Wes Hickman says, "Smokeless tobacco has been proven to be dangerous as well, and so when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, smokeless tobacco can be just as harmful as cigarettes."

He says the main goal of the proposed policy is to encourage a healthier lifestyle.

According to a USC survey, only 6 percent of faculty and staff smoke, and 13 percent of students smoke. Among the general population of South Carolina, 20 percent of people smoke, according to the CDC.

USC sophomore Alex Buscemi, a smoker, says of the proposed ban, "I don't think it's going to happen, honestly. Way too many people smoke here and they already have the ‘tobacco free USC' signs all around here and I'm smoking outside this building right now."

Hickman says a campus-wide ban would be easier to enforce than the current rule banning tobacco within 25 feet of campus buildings, since there would be no question about distance.

One question is how faculty members, staff and students would handle smoke breaks, since they would have to leave campus. Hickman says, "That's something that people would have to work out with their supervisor. I mean, what our preference would be is that people take smoking cessation programs. So, should this go into effect, there's a variety of resources that faculty and staff can take advantage of, there's a variety of resources that students can take advantage of through the student health center, and our goal would be to get people off of tobacco products rather than trying to work out ways for them to use tobacco."

After USC's committee, made up of faculty, staff and students, finishes its work, the school will get public input on the proposal. At Clemson, the task force has a goal of having a policy drafted by the fall of this year, and will also then get input from the public.


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