Smoking ban resolution


They’re at it again. The Students’ Association debated a resolution supporting a smoke-free campus. And it failed to pass—again.

This is the second consecutive year a bill addressing smoking on campus has been introduced to the Senate. It’s the fifth time a bill involving smoking has been brought to the Senate since 2011. This year’s resolution failed to pass with a 17-12 opposing vote.

“It’s an overall issue that just doesn’t go away,” said Administrative Assistant Allyson Helms.

Helms, along with senators from the colleges of pharmacy, nursing and education and human sciences and multiple at-large senators, sponsored this year’s resolution supporting a smoke-free campus. She said her stance on a smoke-free campus was because of the impact of smoking on the lives of individuals, both health-wise and financially. The resolution was also intended to protect other students from smoking, such as students with asthma.

Another point addressed by supporters of the resolution was that South Dakota State University lags behind other South Dakota institutions in implementing a smoke-free campus policy or a tobacco-free campus policy. All Board of Regents institutions have smoke-free or tobacco-free policies except for SDSU and other institutions have smoke-free policies such as Dakota Wesleyan University, Mount Marty College, Oglala Lakota College and the University of Sioux Falls.

“We’re looking to try and take this first step because it would be extremely positive on this campus,” Senator Lexi Opheim said during the debate. Sen. Opheim said that in addition to the health concern of students, a smoke-free policy would give a positive reputation to the university.

But those opposing the resolution sighted individuals’ rights to smoke and that the right shouldn’t be taken away by enforcing a policy.

“Every student who lights up a cigarette … knows the health risks and we are not in a position to … regulate their rights,” Vice President Matt Dahle argued.

Kevin Van Duyn, a tuba-playing, smoking, asthmatic student addressed the Senate during the debate about his personal account on smoking cigarettes.


“I know I’m more likely to have cancer, but for me it’s a right,” he said.

After the resolution failed, two other related resolutions on a tobacco- and electronic cigarette-free campus were postponed indefinitely. The Senate passed an amendment earlier in the meeting.

Helms said she believes a smoke-free campus is an issue that should be addressed. If a similar resolution were to be brought back to the Senate she said she would do a few things differently. Looking forward, she said she would change implementation of a smoke-free policy, would reach out to the entire school more than what was done for this resolution, conduct more research on how other schools implemented their policies and how effective it was and have a committee of students and faculty evaluate the SDSU campus to see how students would respond to a smoke-free policy and how effective the policy would be on campus.

The next Students’ Association meeting will be held Monday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Lewis and Clark room in The Union.