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GA Board of Regents bans tobacco on campus | News

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GA Board of Regents bans tobacco on campus

"As long as I'm not on a public school campus, as in high school or middle school, where there's adolescents around, I feel like if I want to walk outside, in an enclosed area, and smoke a cigarette, I feel like I have the right to do that," Nicholas Ratliff says.

He is a student at Middle Georgia State College's Macon campus and thinks banning tobacco from college campuses infringes on his rights.

The Georgia Board of Regents has voted to implement a system-wide ban on the use of all forms of tobacco products on all 31 campuses in Georgia.

Ratliff thinks students shouldn't be banned from smoking in public, and he's not the only one.

"I'm not saying it's a very positive habit to do, but if it's something you're already doing, it's you're personal choice you can't really just stop people from doing something like that," said Katelyn Reeves.

She is not a smoker, but thinks the ban is unrealistic.

Eddie Bryant,another student, who occasionally smokes, doesn't feel that way.

"I think health wise it would be a good thing," Bryant said, "Some people might be mad about it, but overall I think it'd be a good thing."

The Board of Regents had the same idea when passing the ban. One board member even said officials Feel responsible for promoting health and well-being at University System facilities."

But people who spoke at a forum held by the college's student government, had different ideas on how to do that.

"The majority were in favor of having stricter smoking areas, rather than not having smoking areas at all," said Elizabeth Kringer, an assistant director of the student government.

She says students wanted stronger enforcement on the school's current tobacco policy, which restricts use from 50 feet in front of a campus building entrance.

"They have sections posted up, saying this is a designated smoking area. But if you stand out here and watch for ten minutes, you'll see people just walking by, just smoking," Bryant said.

The Board of Regents says enforcement will be up to the presidents of each institution and visitors who don't comply with the policy may be asked to leave campus.


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