In July 2014, Red Drop Monash in partnership with Student Development created smoking areas at different points on the Monash University South Africa campus to reduce the amount of second hand smoking on the campus. Despite the smoking areas, students can be seen smoking in non-smoking areas and cigarettes litter can be seen on the floor after every step taken. More appalling is the fact that cigarettes can also be seen in the lecture theatre.
According to Miss Imisioluwa Johnson, the President of Red Drop Monash, the idea to implement smoking areas was very spontaneous. She said it was an idea which came up in class which their lecturer encouraged them to pursue with courage. She also said they had to carry out a lot of research on other Monash campuses and they discovered that Monash campuses had implemented a smoke free campus which inspired them to continue with the idea of developing a smoking policy for Monash South Africa.
Miss Imisi said that a lot of awareness was raised regarding the smoking areas but she said she was not disappointed with the fact that certain students are not making use of the smoking areas effectively. She said, “You can take a cattle to the stream but you can never force them to drink water”. She finally said that she hopes that students will in the near future see the danger of second hand smoking and change their life style to suit those students who do not smoke.
No to 2nd hand smoking
Some smokers on campus are aware that there are smoking areas but have refused to comply with the rules by choice. Mbali Nkosi, a student seen smoking by Chill Out, said she is aware of the smoking area however, she felt lazy to walk all the way to the smoking area next to the basketball court. Sam, a student also caught smoking by Chill Out said he felt that the smoking area was too far way but he would not mind going to the designated smoking area if he had to.
Miss Miracle Esosa, the Secretary of Red Drop Monash said “Currently I am not sure there is any follow up on the smoking zones on how students adhere to it but a follow up is needed to see how effective it has been on behavior change on campus”.
Craig Rowe said, at present what happens is that the security guard on duty while on patrol will ask students to comply with the smoking areas or to switch off their cigarettes. He said that to his knowledge, staff members comply with the signs except certain students. He also said that he has noticed the cigarette litter and that from student development; they will work with the Monash University South Africa Student Association (MUSASA) student advocate to look into the matter. According to him, the consequence of not adhering to the rule follows government legislation that applies not only to Monash Universities but other schools and offices around the world. He said, “We have to show diligence in the policies which we have got however, I will get back to you on the exact disciplinary procedures governing occupational health and safety”.
Mary Abioye, a non-smoker and a 3rd year student of Media and Communications expressed her disgust at the sight of cigarettes. She felt it was just very stupid for a person to be dependent on something that does not do the body any good. According to her, she does not care if the smoker harms his or herself. She only expects them to be considerate of other students who are allergic to the smell of cigarettes.
Neema, a 2nd year student of accounting and also a non-smoker, was not very pleased by the rate of smokers on the school premises. She sees it as a distraction and hopes that sometime in the near future, smoking would be banned on campus but currently, strict rules and punishment should be imposed on those smokers who do not adhere to the school’s safety and occupational rules.
Victor, the student advocate of MUSASA said, he has also observed that the numbers of smokers have increased. He said that he hasn’t looked into the issue of the smoking outside the designated areas however he would work together with student development and his other colleagues to address the situation. He is of the opinion that a heavy fine ranging from R500 to a R1000 should be levied to an offender who is not compliant with the rules regarding smoking.
Presently, no follow up has been done to ensure that non-smoking students are save from second hand smoking. Smoking is not seen as a serious problem and non-smoking students are beginning to wonder if the school really cares about their health.On the campus, there are about 12 smoking areas. There are 2 areas opposite the basketball court, 3 areas beside building F, the Africa centre, 2 areas opposite building C, 1 area in front of lecture theatre 5 and 4 in front of the gym and video lab.