Tobacco policies on campus differ among local colleges

MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - West Virginia University joined a growing list of colleges and universities across the country Friday in creating a full tobacco-free campus. But the issue remains a topic of debate and policies differ from school to school.

WVU Parkersburg also has a blanket tobacco-free policy, which includes vaping and e-cigarette products. Marietta College, however, bans smoking and smokeless products inside of their facilities but according to the student handbook, anyone can smoke outside 20 feet from a building on campus.

Most students I spoke to at Marietta said they really don't mind the policy as it is right now, but some objected to a complete ban.

"I would rather smoke outside," student Yue Song said, " because if I smoke in the building, I will bother other people so I think the rule is totally okay for me but in my personal opinion, smokers have their right to smoke anywhere but not inside the buildings."

Meanwhile, college officials said there's no plans to change the policy now, but a plan has been approved to reduce the number of cigarette receptacles by 25 percent.

"By reducing that number of receptacles, identifying where those receptacles are," Marietta College environmental, health and safety officer Kenny Cline said, " these cigarette receptacles...will become the designated smoking areas."

Cline added they are using data to discover which receptacles see the most smokers and will select those as the designated areas.

College officials said there has been talk from some student groups and the administration to move toward a blanket ban in the future, but that is not on the table now.