PUHI — Kauai Community College may join the University of Hawaii at Manoa as a smoke-free campus.
“It is up to the individual campuses on how they want to proceed when it comes to smoking on campus,” said Dan Meisenzahl, UH Manoa spokesman, referencing Senate Bill 134, which passed first reading earlier this month and aims to prohibit smoking and tobacco use on all UH campuses.
Meisenzahl said the bill would help standardize smoke-free policies across the UH system and that the university supports it.
UH Manoa prohibited smoking on campus last year, including e-cigarettes and all other forms of electronic smoking devices. Kauai Community College does not follow those same guidelines.
KCC has designated smoking areas and implements the same rules as the law states where people who are smoking cannot be within 20 feet of enclosed or partially enclosed areas open to the public.
Smoking on campus may seem like an annoying habit for some KCC students, but there are others who don’t mind if students are smoking, as long as they smoke in the designated areas.
“It doesn’t really bother me. They have sections where smokers can go and do their smoking but it’s far away from the buildings from where people who don’t smoke are,” said student Lei Niao.
Niao said if a policy was implemented to ban smoking at KCC, she wouldn’t object.
“I just think it would be better as a smoke-free campus,” she said. “But then I’m not too sure. In one way, I think KCC should be a smoke-free place because it is an educational place and most of the people here don’t smoke.”
Kilo Kanahele, another KCC student, said she is OK with other people smoking on campus, saying it’s not up the school decide where people can smoke.
“Most people, they really are focused and think about where they are smoking, but it does depend on what kind of person you are,” Kanahele said. “It’s up to them, it’s a personal preference I guess.”
KCC Chancellor Helen Cox said the campus has had conversations about making KCC smoke-free.
“While we think it’s a great idea, we want to make sure we’re not making students feel that we don’t want them here,” she said. “We want them to feel invited and included here, even though we don’t want them to smoke.”
Meisenzahl said just because you tell people they can’t smoke somewhere, doesn’t mean they won’t.
“UHM declared itself smoke-free, but there is no enforcement. Education and training is a key component of the initiative,” he said.
“But when it comes to changing societal norms, government is usually the entity that leads the way,” he added.