Penn State Students Consider Tobacco-Free Campus

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UNIVERSITY PARK -- On a warm day, Penn State junior Sean Connolly will take his guitar and play somewhere on Penn State's main campus.

"There are a lot of people. That's to be expected," said Sean Connolly.

With so many people, on occasion Connolly sees a student pull out a cigarette and light up.

"When you're walking around, you'll see a lot of people with a cig in their hand," said Connolly.

"I just stand at the smoking station and smoke that's all I do," said senior Thomas Ratzl.

Ratzl might not be able to smoke on campus much longer. This week, Penn State University announced after years of research, its smoke-free/tobacco-free task force recommended the president of the school make Penn State a tobacco-free university.

The ban includes cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and e-cigarettes on all PSU campuses. The ban would make Penn State the 11th Big Ten school to go tobacco-free.

"It could potentially do some good, but for now it might cause a little bit of discomfort I guess," said Connolly.

The students we spoke with who do smoke tell us they don't mind taking a walk off campus to light up, but things might change when the winter months hit.

"If I can't smoke and have to walk downtown? You know what? I mean, I’m not going to die if I don't smoke, so whatever I won't smoke," said Ratzl.

"I think that it's annoying to walk to class and have someone blow smoke in your face,” said Lindsey Edgar.

The recommendation to go tobacco-free comes after years of research. According to the university, a decision won't be made without feedback from students like Lindsey Edgar from Carbondale.

"I think it would be helpful to the university,” said Edgar.

"I'm not really against it. If they really have to do it because there were other people who complain about it I'll have to go with the majority,” said Ratzl.

These recommendations include programs and support for tobacco users on campus. If approved, the entire university system could be tobacco-free as early as January.


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