By CARSON DESHEVY-RENOUF
Conflict tends to arise when people talk about where it is OK to smoke in public. New legislation is passed regularly, giving smokers fewer and fewer places to light up. This is the case at Conestoga College as well.
The Smoke Free Environment Policy that was introduced at the college in August 2011 states that “smoking is not permitted in any Conestoga-owned building or in rented facilities where Conestoga is the sole tenant. Smoking is also not permitted within 25 feet (7.5m) of all entrances, air intakes and operable windows.” However, even though the space outside the doors where smoking is prohibited is marked in red paint, some smokers either don’t know the rules, or ignore them.
The problem is students who smoke do not have a whole lot of options when it comes to going out for a smoke. During the warmer months, as many non-smoking students can attest, smokers aren’t generally a problem. Only when the weather becomes frigid and unbearable do people huddle around the doorways and other non-smoking areas that are out of the piercing winds. In either case, many smokers said that if asked, they would move away from any non-smokers out of consideration.
A solution to this problem becomes difficult, especially when attempting to implement the obvious solution of building shelters for smokers. In 2006 the Smoke-free Ontario Act added new restrictions to what buildings can be made for smokers to dwell in. According to the act, smoke shelters are permitted, but can only consist of a maximum two walls and a roof.
According to Ryan Eden, a security representative at Conestoga, “Conestoga College once had shelters designated for smoking on campus, but (they) were removed once the laws around enclosed smoking shelters were enacted. From a personal standpoint, I believe that if smoking shelters were put back into place throughout the college, they would not be utilized resourcefully.”
Currently, there are no plans to re-introduce shelters.
According to Eden, the no-smoking areas should be taken seriously, as they are visited on each of the patrol rounds done by Security Services. These rounds take place throughout the day, and once every four hours during after-hours. If students are spotted inside a no-smoking area and have been constantly reminded to move, they could face relatively serious consequences (a Student Code of Conduct Incident Form would be completed and sent to the Office of the Vice-President of Student Affairs.). It should be noted, however, that there has yet to be an incident where this has happened.
Although some students don’t think that enough is being done to police these areas, the fact that smokers are generally co-operative and that there have been few (if any) complaints made to Security Services, means that the way things are being done is how they will stay.