New Smoking Ban Vote To Be Held In April; Approval Expected

Student Michael Adrian smoking.
Lights Out: Michael Adrian, 21, smokes a cigarette on the 4th floor terrace of building 1. Pending approval Board of Trustees, smoking would be banned on all campuses at MDC.

A smoking ban at all Miami Dade College campuses is expected to become effective April 19, when the policy will be submitted for final approval to the District Board of Trustees.

“We can never predict what the final decision of the Board will be, but considering that the policy contributes to the health and wellness of the College’s students and personnel, it is my humble opinion that the probability for approval [of the smoking ban] is high,” said College Provost Rolando Montoya.

The new smoking policy is an extension of the existing one established in 1985, prohibiting smoking inside buildings including atria, entryways and enclosed hallways. The new ban would prohibit smoking everywhere on College grounds including outdoor areas, parking lots, rooftops, plazas and courtyards.

Violators will be reminded of the policy and asked to comply.

“Maybe there should only be designated smoking areas versus banning smoking altogether,” said Eno Aguado a music business major at Kendall Campus. “This is an adult facility, this is not high school.”

The College has been discussing the damage tobacco and smoking cause to human health for years. Six months ago the discussions intensified.

“We observed the national trend of creating smoke-free campuses,” Montoya said. “Those who desire to smoke have to do it outside college property.”

MDC is not the first college in Florida to ban smoking. The University of Florida prohibited smoking in July of 2010. Florida International University instituted a smoking ban this past January.

“Initially there was some resistance from students and some were upset that we hadn’t communicated to them,” said Director for the University Health Services at FIU, Oscar Lyonaz.. “I think now [students] are handling it well, I have noticed fewer smokers than before.”

FIU uses social enforcement to imply the policy at their campus. Miami Dade College hopes to do the same.

“I’m a student at MDC but, I visit friends at FIU and as I walk around the campus I see smokers to my left and right,” said Kendall Campus student Evan Rodriguez. “That’s why I feel it would be more understandable if we did not completely ban smoking because students would still smoke where ever they please.”

The smoking ban initiative at MDC is supported by the Student Government Association, the Faculty Union, the Support Staff Council, the Academic Leadership Council, the Student Deans council, and the Administrative Deans Council.

“It’s about time.” said Ben Sharp, 29 a history major at the Wolfson Campus. “Some people think it’s restriction after restriction, but second hand smoke kills. I feel like the campus is finally taking account of everyone’s health.”