Should Chaminade be a tobacco-free campus?


A no-smoking sign at Chaminade University.

That’s the question that will be on the minds of many Chaminade students, faculty and staff this coming year. Dr. Tracy Trevorrow, Ph.D., a department of psychology professor, has drafted a Tobacco-Free Policy Proposal for CUH.

The Tobacco-Free Policy Proposal will prohibit the use of “tobacco products by all persons, including students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors on the main Honolulu campus and at all Chaminade properties. Tobacco products are not to be used in indoor or outdoor spaces, including parking lots, dormitory space, courtyards and athletic fields…Prohibited tobacco products include, but are not limited to, cigarettes, clove cigarettes, pipes, water pipes, hookahs, chewing tobacco, snuff, snus, cigars, cigarillos, and dissolvable tobacco.”

This is not a finalized policy. The process of getting this policy determined is up to the administration. However, if all goes as planned, then according to the policy proposal, the administration will announce the policy toward the end of the spring semester of 2014. The enforcement date to stop the use of cigarettes on campus is projected to be on Jan. 1, 2015. Dr. Trevorrow proposed that these seven months, from May to January 2015, are crucial before the hopeful implementation of the Tobacco-Free Policy.

“I think it’s a stepwise process where a lot of things need to happen before you just announce, ‘Ok, nobody is allowed to smoke on campus.’ That wouldn’t be fair to anyone who are smokers,” Dr. Trevorrow said. “They need to be able to have a chance to come to terms with the policy change and to be able to adjust their smoking or try and quit smoking, which I ultimately hope to be the case.”

This policy has good intentions.

“I feel that it has a lot of negative and positive attributes and connotations for the environment, campus life, and the community,” said Emily Abernathy a junior majoring in business administration and psychology who is a smoker.

However, a couple students are wondering why Chaminade would ban a lifestyle that people chose to legally live. At the age of 18, smoking is legal and students are questioning why CUH thinks it is it’s responsibility to look out for them.

“They (Chaminade) are controlling things that they don’t need to,” said Brandee Lima a junior majoring in Communications who is not a smoker. “It’s their personal choice to smoke or not to smoke. It’s like them telling us ‘oh you’re not allowed to eat Burger King.’ It’s pretty much the same thing. Just because we are going to school doesn’t mean they are like our parents.”

People, 18 years and older, are legally allowed to smoke, which not only affects the legal smokers but also brings up the issue of secondhand smoke.

“We are really exposing people to secondhand smoke and that’s not right,” Dr. Trevorrow said.  “We have two designated smoking areas in places where the students from St. Louis High School have to walk back and forth to go to chapel. So, we aren’t just exposing Chaminade students to second-hand smoking, we are actually exposing children to smoking. Those school children will be seeing university students smoking and thinking ‘Ok, this is the norm, this is cool to do this, this is somehow acceptable and okay,’ and I don’t think that’s the message we want to give.”

Studies have shown that smoking is extremely harmful to one’s health, and secondhand smoke is just as bad.

“CUH students walk by these spots for no more than a few seconds, and unless they are purposefully inhaling the minute wisps of smoke that reach the sidewalk then I sincerely doubt that they are being harmed by anything,” said Alex Davis, a senior majoring in Criminal Justice who is not a smoker. “If they stay at the benches longer, then they are making the choice to remain in a smoke-‘heavy’ spot and are willingly putting themselves at risk of harmful effects. We are adults, we know the effects of smoking. St. Louis students also aren’t lingering at these spots, and to be frank I am sure most of the students have seen people smoking before.”

College and high school students are well aware of the idea of smoking, as well as the recent trend in electronic cigarettes. The proposed CUH policy caters to the recent trend and states that, “e-cigarettes may be used in outdoor spaces so long as such use is done to assist the user in quitting smoking.”

Chaminade’s Tobacco-Free Policy Proposal is different than other universities. University of Hawaii is banning all cigarette use as well as e-cigs starting January 1. The University of California systems also ban e-cigs and regular cigarettes.

“We want people to use these e-cigs to leave cigarettes behind,” Dr. Trevorrow said. He proposes that along with the e-cigs, the Center for Medical Psychology at Chaminade shall provide assistance to those seeking to quit smoking.

With the additional assistance that is being provided, will smokers take advantage of this and stop smoking?

The authors of the policy (Dr. Tracy Trevorrow and students from Psychology 499: Katrina Heine, Danielle Montoya, Monique Tsang, Bryant Dela Cruz and Monique Miller) stated that their survey results pointed out that smokers aren’t likely to take advantage of this assistance even if they want to quit. The students of Psychology 499 conducted three CUH Undergraduate Smoking Surveys in Spring 2012, Spring 2013 and Fall 2013. The surveys stated in the proposed policy indicated that smoking among students are decreasing without the implementation of such a policy.