The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-Smoking policy requires action

Everyone knows the permissive parents who continually tell their children, “If you don’t stop doing that, you’re going to get in big trouble,” but never follow through with the promised disciplinary action.

Their children blatantly continue to disobey because they know there are no consequences for their behavior. They have learned by their parents’ inaction how far they can go with their noncompliance because they are not grounded, put in time-out or spanked as promised.

A similar relationship exists at TCC between the campus police and smokers. Some people feel free to smoke on TCC campuses with impunity. The lack of enforcement of the non-smoking policy permits them to do so, allowing them to pollute both the air with smoke and the campus with cigarette butts.

Students watch their speed in the parking lots, park in the right direction and do not park in the yellow areas because they know they’ll be fined. It should be noted campus police showed leniency during the first few weeks of the semester placing bright yellow warnings on offenders’ windshields. However, the activity in the parking lots shows these regulations are now enforced vigorously.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the non-smoking policy, which went into effect in May 2009.

According to the TCC Buzz blog, when the policy first went into effect, campus police officers would give violators a two-sided card that explained the new TCC directive. One side read, “The use of tobacco products shall be prohibited on College District grounds and in College District buildings … use of tobacco products shall be permitted in private vehicles … provided any residue is retained within the vehicle. Violation … may result in disciplinary action.” The consequential fines were also noted. Signs were also placed in “strategic” locations to inform students, faculty and visitors of the new policy and the resulting consequences.

The friendly warning, education-first approach was a good thing, and the powers that be should be applauded for not taking a hard-line stance in the beginning.

However, it is now October 2011. The time has come to follow up on the warnings and back up the words with actions. It is obvious that smokers are no longer listening because they have no fear of reprisals.

It is true that the policy has been effective in many areas. Students are no longer assaulted by plumes of secondhand smoke at building entrances.

Nevertheless, much residual evidence shows that smoking on our campuses has not ceased. Students who do not want to breathe cigarette smoke must still avoid certain areas.

The hundreds of cigarette butts that litter the flower beds and sidewalks speak to the smoking on our campuses, as was noted in last week’s Collegian.

It is time the TCC police department puts some action behind the words. Smokers have had sufficient time for warnings, and it is time to follow through with the consequences.

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