Campus rolls out new plan to restrict smoking

Almost a year after the Miller School of Medicine’s campus went smoke-free, the Coral Gables campus is rolling out a new plan to restrict smokers to designated areas.

The new initiative, which has yet to be named, will create designated smoking areas around the campus and will incorporate educational programs about the various smoke-free initiatives on campus.

“We want to minimize exposure to second-hand smoke and provide resources to students if they choose to not smoke,” said Gilbert Arias, assistant vice president for student affairs. “Our purpose is to make the campus safer.”

The previous policy banned smoking in all buildings and within 25 feet of the residential colleges and the Herbert Wellness Center.

The new initiative was inspired by a survey created by a committee of undergraduate, graduate, and law students.

Sophomore Ryan Aquilina, last year’s SG press secretary, headed the undergraduate part of the committee.

“I was sitting on the campus smoking research committee, and the committee was talking about what it thought students wanted. So I thought, why don’t we find out what they actually want?” said Aquilina, who created the survey.

The two-page survey consisted of four basic options. Students can decide whether they would like to keep the current policy or expand it to include a 25-foot no-smoking zone around non-residential buildings like the library. There were also options on the survey to make designated smoking areas or even to make the entire campus smoke-free.

More than 2,000 students responded to the survey, with the majority in favor of creating designated smoking areas. The faculty senate also approved the program.

“It was a joint effort,” Arias said.

The current smoking designated areas are being evaluated for effectiveness before the program rolls out for the fall semester.

“We are evaluating these areas in terms of student traffic,” Arias said. “We also want to make sure there are tables and chairs and umbrellas for students.”

The student committee will meet again starting in the fall to determine enforcement and other safety issues.