Will Colorado College Go Smoke-Free?

Written by Riley Hutchings

Recent amendments to Colorado College’s smoking policy have sparked talk of making the campus entirely smoke- and tobacco-free. Dean Mike Edmonds and Senior Vice President of Finance Robert Moore are in charge of this changing policy.

Lyrae Williams works for President Tiefenthaler in the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness, and part of her work includes administering policies like this one. In 2013, she explained, the school created the smoking policy to comply with the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act. The process to change it started with a proposition from Edmonds and Moore.

The proposed changes have been posted online for 30 days for student feedback. If additional changes are widely suggested throughout that period, the new changes are posted for student response until a final proposition is reached, which is finally approved by the President’s Cabinet.

There are currently five proposed policy changes up for comment. Smoking is the only one that would affect students.

The 2013 smoking policy required that people not smoke within 15 feet of the entrance to any CC building. The new proposition seeks to change the distance to 25 feet. “We post policies for 30 days to get feedback not just on the change, but about what people think about the overall policies,” said Dean Edmonds.

Much of the feedback he has received this month suggests that the student body wants the campus to be entirely smoke- and tobacco-free. Head of the Health and Wellness Resource Center Heather Horton said that two years ago when public forums about the smoking policy were held on campus, the majority of voices advocated for a smoke-free campus.

Again and again, Horton has emphasized the importance of community involvement in concerns about smoking.

“It has to do with, you know, how we approach everything in terms of living in community,” Horton said. “There are things that are not necessarily a violation of policy or something like that but that… my choices or my behavior might impact you.”

To her, it is more about the community coming together to create wellbeing for everyone. In addition, she pointed out that other campuses that have enacted smoke-free policies have also seen many efforts by smokers to try to quit.

Because we are just one block from summer, if proposed, the waiting period for the smoke-free policy will be postponed until next year. Until then, Moore, Edmonds, and Williams will be looking at feedback and deciding whether to keep the policy as proposed or try to change it further.

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