The University of Wisconsin-
Stevens Point tobacco and smoking policies have been a contentious topic over
the past few decades with very little changing on either side of the issue.
Student Life Issues Director
Ryan Specht, who co-chairs the Ad Hoc Committee for the Resolution of Tobacco
Concerns (AHCRTC), along with Health Services Student Director Anna Haug both
hope that the committee will be the first to end inaction on the issue.
“We’re sick and tired of the
flip-flopping,” Specht said. “Everyone might not be happy, but what we’re
working towards is a compromise. We are committed to getting something done.”
Specht said that the committee
is more concerned about formulating fair policy changes in making a healthier
UWSP campus and that a tobacco ban is only one of five options currently being
evaluated. Another plan involves the prohibition of the act of smoking
anything—such as hookah—differing from a full tobacco ban, which would include
Another option the committee is evaluating involves
making no changes to the current tobacco and smoking rules on campus. As of
now, guidelines include a ban on smoking in any indoor building and within 30-feet
of a residence halls. There is also a ban on smoking within a non-defined range
of any childcare facility on campus.
There is also a plan being discussed that would
create designated smoking zones where tobacco products would be permitted as
well as a long-term transitional plan that would promote a cultural shift on
the act of tobacco use. This plan would involve promoting the already available
smoking cessation programs available on campus.
Senior English major Randy Ploeckelman, who is a
smoker, said that he believes the current tobacco rules on campus are necessary
and fair but should not be taken any further. Some UWSP students are not
convinced that tobacco use on campus is an issue.
“I think the rules are fine now. I don’t have a
problem with it. I will walk through a crowd of smokers and get a cloud of
smoke in my face but it happens, it doesn’t really bother me,” said Boone
Sorenson, a senior communication major.
Daniel Werachowski, a junior English major and
smoker, agreed with Sorenson.
“I feel like if they passed legislation to ban
smoking on campus, it would be really hard to enforce and could cost a lot of
money to enforce. It seems like since budgets are tight, there are a lot of
bigger problems to worry about right now,” Werachowski said.
Specht said that he knows changing tobacco and
smoking policies is a controversial issue but hopes that an open dialogue with
students and faculty will help shape a policy that reflects the opinions of all
“Feedback is critical and we won’t be enacting
policy without that feedback,” Specht said.
is holding an open forum on Nov 14 where students and faculty can voice any
concerns and offer input on the issue, as well as learn about some of the
proposed plans. Anyone interested in more information can contact Ryan Specht