Students petition for designated smoking zones on UL campus

A proposal to install designated ‘safe smoking zones’ on University of Limerick (UL) campus has been forwarded to the University of Limerick executive committee.

The founder of the online petition, Stephen Guilfoyle, who is a UL psychology student, said that the smoking ban on campus is completely unfeasible and is resulting in a buildup of rubbish and cigarette butts around the university.

UL decided that it would become a non-smoking campus as part of its Healthy Campus initiative, which in turn follows on from the Healthy Ireland initiative started by the Irish government.

In an effort to encourage students to be as healthy as possible they’re discouraging them from smoking, and the ban has been in place since Friday June 1st 2018.

Picture Sean Curtin True Media.

Guilfoyle said that the next step is to hopefully bring the proposal, which outlines the reasons behind these smoking zones, to the student council and then they’ll decide what to do with it.

“Long term we’d be looking at an AGM where the students could vote on this and say if designated smoking zones is something they wanted to see. I think that there should have been a vote cast in the first place because the main cohort of people involved with it are the students but they never had a say in this.”

The online petition, which is being shared over Facebook, has received over 200 signatures just from UL students and lot more from members of the public.

“Its great to see the amount of support this is receiving,” Guilfoyle said.

Adding that nobody wants to see cigarette butts all over the campus, not even himself as a smoker, Guilfoyle believes that the rubbish is affecting everyone around UL.

“If we were to have smoking zones then at least smokers could go there and non-smokers would know to avoid those designated areas. That way everyone’s happy and the campus wont be ruined with rubbish also.”

Commentators on the petition have highlighted the unfairness of ‘expecting students to walk 10-15 minutes off campus for a smoke’ as well as being ‘sick of seeing fag butts everywhere’ with one commentator stating that everyone should be entitled to their own choice to smoke because they all know the dangers involved with it.

Lorcan O’Donell UL Student Life Welfare officer who is dealing with the proposal said that he couldn’t comment until after the executive committee was held.

Matthew Murphy UL Academic Officer said: “Personally I’d be very live-and-let-live about smoking, it’s a bad habit but we’re all adults and can choose what to put in our bodies.”

However he states that UL has the final decision as to what goes on in its campus.

“If there isn’t a place to dispose of cigarette butts then there will be a build-up of waste. Smoking zones would be helpful in that sense.”

Adding that the role of the Student Life services is to listen to the students, Murphy said: “If it’s what the majority of students want then we would have to campaign for it. If anyone is really unhappy about it then they should liaise with the student officers to see what we can do about it.”

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