UNM to strengthen smoking policy

UNM to strengthen smoking policy
It's not uncommon for students at the University of New Mexico to light up a cigarette and go to class.

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s not uncommon for students at the University of New Mexico to light up a cigarette and go to class. The problem is, according to university policy, smokers are only allowed to smoke in one of five designated areas. However, that rule is often overlooked.

“Basically, I see people smoking every day at the university,” said UNM student, Monica Garcie.

The way the smoking policy reads now, UNM police has no authority to enforce the rules. That’s because the policy, which hasn’t been updated since 2009, relies only on self-enforcement and cooperation between smokers and non-smokers.

However, that could soon change. UNM’s policy office is looking at beefing up the college’s smoking rules. It’s all part of a move to eventually make UNM a smoke free campus.

“It’s not so much that we are trying to put an abrupt stop, but just that it’s time to revisit some things like this,” said Associated Students of the University of New Mexico (ASUNM) President Rachel Williams.

Non-smokers say stricter rules are needed.

“I’d like to see people controlling it and some punishment because I think the punishment is the only way people follow the rules,” said Garcie.

Smokers say that’s not necessary. Instead, they want the designated smoking areas improved.

“You have wooden tables with splinters that are falling apart and limited signage on the tables that is frankly unreadable,” said UNM student Michael Howland-Davis.

The policy office says its taking all of those suggestions into account. It says it’s not trying to villainize smokers, only improve a set of outdated rules

“UNM wants everybody to feel like they are in a healthy, respectful environment,” said Stephanie Everett who is working on updating the policy.

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