by Austin Giles
The signs and pamphlet peddlers around Whatcom Community College inform students and others of an online survey regarding the status of smoking on campus.
Of the items on the survey, “I worry that breathing secondhand smoke is bad for my health,” is the center of the controversy.
In 2005, Washington became one of the few states to implement protective laws against secondhand smoke, banning smoking indoors of public places and smoking within 25 feet of entrance ways.
The Campus Advocacy Committee would like to find out from students whether they think smoke shacks should be re-located, if walking behind someone smoking a cigarette is bothersome or if cigarette butts littering the campus are unsightly.
The survey has questions geared towards both sides of the issue and would like to hear from smokers and non-smokers “so the campus can better meet the needs of both,” the survey states.
Chandler Batiste, head of the Campus Advocacy Committee said that it is not an attempt to make Whatcom a non-smoking campus and that the survey is simply to hear from students regarding the issue.
“Smoking is a hot topic,” said Batiste. So far nearly 200 people have taken the survey.
At the bottom is a box for any other comments on the issue. People have given thanks for being heard but have also taken it as an opportunity to make suggestions, such as relocating the smoking shacks to less trafficked areas or expanding them so more smokers can comfortably fit inside.
“Smokers are attentive to others,” said Batiste about a general mentality non-smokers feel towards their puffing counterparts. “They do care.”
The smoking survey is finding answers from a wide array of students and for now is just asking questions.