UTC students react to smoke-free campus in 2019 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UTC students react to smoke-free campus in 2019

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UTC has announced they will go smoke-free in 2019, to make campus life healthier for students.  

"No smoking" signs are posted all over UTC's campus, but students can still light up for now.

Under the new smoke-free policy, no student, staff member or school visitor is permitted to use any light-up tobacco product, including e-cigarettes, on school property. Smoking will also be prohibited within twenty-five feet of all doorways, windows and ventilation systems of all university buildings. 

"They can't tell us what to do," student Jackie Box said. " I feel like it's kind of going against our rights to be able to tell us, 'hey you can't smoke on campus.' I personally don't, but if somebody makes that decision, it's nobody's right to say 'hey you can't do that because it's not against federal law.'" 

UTC officials say they'll give students at least 12 months to adjust. The policy doesn't go into effect until January 1, 2019. Until then, there will be scheduled workshops and seminars for students who are struggling to quit. Support groups and counseling sessions will be made available as well.

"I think it's awesome; it's convenient for everyone," student Savannah Wooten said. "I had to walk by a door today where the guy was smoking in front of it, and it was really inconvenient." 

The policy doesn't go into much detail about how the university plans to enforce a smoke-free campus other than violations can be reported by students and faculty. Anyone who is found to be in violation may be subject to discipline. School officials say talks about enforcement are ongoing. 

"Let's be honest," Box said, "college students have a real 'I'm going to do it anyway' attitude, so if you have all of these smokers who are already addicted, they aren't going to stop just because UTC says you can't do it. I mean are they going to punish hundreds of people that smoke every year?" 

UTC officials say a recent student survey shows about 93 percent of students do not smoke, while 4 percent do and 1.5 percent use vapor. 

You can learn more about the policy on UTC's website

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