While the 2014 school year will ring in a new class of freshman, that fall semester will also bring about new regulations that will affect smokers on campus.
On June 10, Gov. Bobby Jindal signed Senate Bill 36, which mandates all public post-secondary education institutions must develop strict non-smoking policies by August 1, 2014.
The bill was first introduced into the State Senate on April 8, when it was revised, and even then, it received vast majority support in a 31-3 vote.
The bill’s chief architect, Sen. David Heitmeier, D-Algiers, was also supported unanimously throughout the state House of Representatives, as the bill passed with a 97-0 vote.
It also gives universities the option to ban all forms of tobacco, including oral products such as dip or chewing tobacco.
Judith Sylvester, mass communication associate professor and adviser of the University chapter of Fresh Campus, told the Daily Reveille in March that about 70 percent of students on campus don’t smoke.
Some University students have also joined the effort to end smoking on campus. Fresh Campus is a student organization that advocates a non-smoking campus.
In an interview with Southeastern University’s student paper, The Lion’s Roar, Southeastern’s director of Public and Governmental Affairs Erin Cowser said she had doubts on the ability of universities to enforce the law in such a large area.
“There are a million reasons to quit smoking and not a single one to start,” she said. “If anything, this law will discourage people from picking up the habit in the first place.”