No students punished yet under Tobacco Ban

Six months after the implementation of the tobacco and smoking ban, not a single referral has been made regarding a violation.

The policy was passed by the University System of Georgia’s (USG) Board of Regents last March and it went into effect in October later that year.

According to USG, addressing the “serious health implications” of both direct and indirect exposure to tobacco product use was and remains the primary goal with the tobacco-free policy. Items banned include cigars, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes (e-cigs), pipes, hookahs, clove cigarettes and various forms of smokeless tobacco.

Tech’s implementation involved collaboration between Facilities Management, the Department of Housing, the Office of Legal Affairs, the Office of Student Integrity (OSI) and Stamps Health Services. Violators would be dealt with through OSI via the Student Code of Conduct.

“To date, OSI has not received any referrals regarding violations of this tobacco-free campus policy,” said Rachael Pocklington, Communications Officer for Facilities Management.

Pocklington did not deny that smoking continues to occur on campus, but encouraged patience and understanding that the policy may take time before it is fully adhered to.

“Tech is taking an enforcement light approach, relying on awareness of the policy and education about the available resources to help members of the community kick the habit,” Pocklington said.

Student outlook was less optimistic than that of administration.

“I’ve seen people smoke a lot on campus, and I don’t know how well [the policy] is being enforced,” said Savannah O’Connor, a third-year ISyE. “I don’t think it’s been effective really.”

“It’s hard to walk up to someone and tell them to stop [smoking],” said Austin Foo, a third-year CE.

Peter Paquette, the Assistant Dean & Director of Student Integrity at Tech, indicated that he believed the policy had made significant strides in the area of improved consciousness and awareness of smoking around campus. He also addressed the distinction between those with a plan to quit smoking and those without such a goal.

“If those individuals desire to quit I hope that they utilize the on-campus resources to do so,” said Paquette. “If they do not, we encourage policy compliance, and if a case is referred to OSI we would handle that case similar to any other policy violation that gets referred to our office.”

Paquette added that no changes regarding enforcement were under consideration at this time. According to Pocklington, the policy is here to stay, regardless of conditions at Tech.