Smoked ‘Ham? Unlike some, Birmingham universities aren’t buying a blanket ban on tobacco use

the briary tobacco
the briary tobacco
The Briary, considered one of America’s best tobacconists and located in Homewood – via cityvoter.com

Tobacco products are bad for you.  In many cases, they’re bad for people around you.  But until relatively recently, few universities actually taken steps to do something about tobacco use among their communities.  In Philadelphia, for example, four universities have begun a process to ban any tobacco products from their campuses.  

smoke free campus
via miami.edu
Blanket bans

Laura Siminoff, dean of the College of Public Health at Temple University, points to why colleges are trying blanket bans: “if you do not start smoking by the age of 25, you are almost undoubtedly never going to become a smoker… one of the prime times for people to start smoking is when they go to university.” While some think that universities shouldn’t try to police behavior, and I suspect at least one stoner has tried to tie their pot habit to a political statement in the hopes of winning a First Amendment case, few of those people are in charge of making policy decisions.

Philadelphia isn’t the only place where smoking has been forbidden.  Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, and Louisiana all forbid smoking on campus.

vaping
Just as bad as smoking in UAB’s eyes – via UAB
(relative) Moderation

No Birmingham institutions have implemented anything so drastic.  However, one comes close.  UAB, because it doubles as a hospital, has declared smoking “prohibited in all buildings, facilities, and spaces (including covered walkways and covered parking) that are owned, rented, or leased by [UAB].”  Pretty strict.

Samford University restricts smoking to a list of 9 areas and fines anyone smoking outside of those areas $100.

bsc dorm
There aren’t many smokers on the Birmingham-Southern campus, but they’ll congregate in front of this building on occasion – via wikimedia

Birmingham-Southern College could be the least restrictive, allowing smoking anywhere which is at least 50 feet away from a building, or anywhere pre-approved by the school administration.

There’s nothing unusual about any of our city’s schools’ policies.  Outside of the few states that ban smoking entirely, all of these policies are interchangeable across America.  But will that change?  If so, I think UAB would be the first to ban smoking.  After all, they’re also a hospital.

Author: James Ozment

I'm a Birmingham native who loves music, cycling, reading, and tech. Find me on the campus of Birmingham-Southern College, in Avondale, or hanging out with my cat