By Emily Senger
The results of a Nov. 21 plebiscite have brought the SAIT campus one step closer to being smoke-free. Last week, SAIT students and staff voted 62 per cent in favour of making the SAIT campus smoke-free by Aug. 5, 2005.
Going smoke-free would entail making smoking off-limits on all SAIT property, including all indoor and outdoor locations. SAIT smokers would have to leave SAIT property to legally get their nicotine fix.
The next step is bringing the results of the plebiscite to SAIT’s Board of Governors who will debate the issue. The BoG is ultimately responsible for the decision.
"This doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to be smoke free," said SAIT Students’ Association President Stu Sherry. "The final decision is up to the Board of Governors. We hope to see a decision sometime in January."
Sherry, a non-smoker, was skeptical of the results of the plebiscite.
"I was on the ‘no’ side of this plebiscite for sure," commented Sherry. "Tobacco is not outlawed. It’s use is an absolutely legal problem. I’d love to try to see them enforce this. I don’t see it as being realistic."
Some SAIT students share Sherry’s sentiments.
"Even as a non-smoker, I don’t think that it’s a good idea," said Nancy Nelson, a SAIT journalism student. "It’s only going to annoy the smokers, people will complain so much."
She also cited a concern for problems which would occur in trying to enforce the bylaw.
Tammy, who requested to have her last name withheld, is a smoking student at the Alberta College of Art and Design. She is worried about implications of enforcing the regulation even though ACAD is not included in the proposition.
"It [the proposed regulation] does affect me because I live in the residence on SAIT," she stated. "There are designated smoking areas and as long as you’re outside it shouldn’t matter."
A total of 1,070 students and staff voted in the plebiscite which was organized by the Fresh Air Committee on Campus. This number represented only 12 per cent of all eligible voters.