Breathe Easy

Miami Dade College is considering becoming a smoke-free campus.

The decision to possibly ban smoking will be made by the Support Staff Council, the Faculty Union and the academic, student and administrative dean’s at all eight MDC campuses.

An approximate date for a decision to be made has not been determined.

“This [idea] was motivated by our desire to promote health and wellness among the College’s stake-holders,” Montoya said. “This is a collective decision that will be made.”

Approval would need to be secured from the College’s Executive Committee, the College President and the District Board of Trustee, according to Montoya.

If the ban is implemented, any person who works, studies or visits the College will have to leave cam- pus to smoke. It has not been determined what penalties violators would face.

“Smoking succession workshops are being considered for faculty who need help quitting,” said Milagros Fernandez, executive chair of the College Wide Support Staff Council. “We need to look at the bigger picture; we aren’t the only school that has considered this.”

Six schools in Florida have completely or partially banned smoking on campus. Locally, Florida International University implemented a smoking ban on Jan. 6. The University of Miami prohibits smoking around health-related buildings.

In addition, the University of Florida went smoke-free in July of 2010. Edison State College, Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences in Orlando and Warner University in Lake Wales have also instituted some sort of smoking ban.

“There’s about 466 colleges nationwide that restricts smoking on premises. College students are definitely targets of the tobacco industry; most people who start smoking are under the age of 21,” said Liz Williams, American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation project manager. “The idea is not to punish, but to educate.”

According to the ANRF, 53,800 people die every year from secondhand smoke exposure.

“This is great. Smoking is a bad habit. This is my first year and I see it everywhere on campus,” said Angleek Ealy, a 19-year-old freshmen at North Campus, about the possible smoking ban. “Stopping it at colleges will make it easier for people to stop.”

But Wolfson Campus student, Mitchell Alvaraz disagrees.

“I think that smoking on campus should not be banned,” Alvarez said. “I myself am a smoker but I do like to be respectful of other people. I’ll go up to the patio on this building [Wolfson Campus, building one]. You know, you don’t do it in peoples face… why can’t I smoke?”

So what will smokers with the itch to light up do if the ban is passed?

“Those who plan to continue smoking will just have to do it when they are not on campus,” Montoya said.