HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The University of Southern Mississippi became a tobacco-free campus on January 1, 2018, and eliminated designated smoking areas.
According to Southern Miss, by going tobacco-free, the university planned to make the effort to promote a cleaner, healthier environment in which students can learn, employees can grow professionally, and the campus community can enjoy all that the university has to offer in the areas of academics, research, arts, athletics and service.
But a student we spoke with said that people are not abiding by the tobacco-free policy.
WDAM talked with the University Police Department on what students can do when they are experiencing second-hand smoke on campus. Assistant Chief Rusty Keyes advises students to say something to the individual if they see smoke nearby.
“They need to report that to their supervisor or the person that is using tobacco’s supervisor,” said Keyes.
Billy Cox is a senior in college at USM and said that he encounters more than 10 smokers on a daily basis.
“I would like to see them really crack down on it, promote a healthy smoke-free educational experience for all the students,” said Cox.
Keyes recommends students who have a concern should speak with the USM Student Government Association or university administration.
“If they disagree with a current policy there are avenues where they can voice their opinion,” said Keyes.
Cox hopes that USM police will begin to issue tickets to people who are caught smoking on campus property, but Keyes said that they will probably not look into issuing citations at this time.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health conditions caused by second-hand smoke includes lung cancer.