LOWELL — If students and administrators have their way, the use of tobacco products will be banned at UMass Lowell by next year.
“This is not a war on smokers or something that people feel is personally attacking them,” said Andrew Ladd of Andover, president of the Student Government Association at UMass Lowell. “What we’re trying to do is foster an environment that is healthy.”
During the Great American Smokeout on campus tomorrow, students are planning informational events and cessation and counseling programs, which will continue throughout November, which is Lung Cancer Awareness month.
“College is when most people are susceptible to take up the habit and it is sad to see,” said Ladd, a junior studying political science and criminal justice.
Currently, smoking is not allowed within 25 feet of any building on campus.
While a small number of students is against the ban, most students support it. The student-led petition asking for an outright ban has been signed by 2,000 people.
“I’m very optimistic about this,’’ said Ladd, a graduate of Andover High where smoking was banned. “We have the student support and the administration is in favor of the policy. It’s important to remember that we’re concerned about the whole university community, not just those people exposed to second-hand smoke.’’
Students leading the effort to make the campus smoke free are: Katie Burnett, a member of the American Cancer Society’s Colleges Against Cancer program; Amanda Robinson, chairwoman of Campus Life and Events; and Phil Geoffroy, a student trustee.
Burnett, a junior, and Robinson, a sophomore, both lost family members to cancer.
Robinson who is majoring in business and political science, was 13 when her grandmother died of lung cancer after smoking for 40 years.
“My mother lived in a house full of smokers and never smoked a cigarette,” Robinson said. “That was something that was reinforced at home.”