Students want smoking cessation help UofL promised, ban begins Thursday


by Adrianna Hopkins

Posted on November 16, 2009 at 11:43 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 17 at 1:10 AM

On Thursday the University of Louisville will start its controversial campus wide smoking ban. Campus officials say it's a push to get healthy, but some students say smoking is their choice.

In September, campus officials promised support for students and staff to help them quit smoking and one student we talked to says that help should have come sooner.

Lighting up and taking a drag isn't unpopular on U of L's campus. A quarter of the student population here smokes. That's better than most campuses. Nationwide, a third of college students say they smoke cigarettes or cigars or chew tobacco.

But U of L campus officials say they're done with smoke clouds, cigarette butts and the unhealthy habit.

"Everybody's anti-smoking now, you can basically only smoke in your car," said U of L Junior Matt Fravert.

The campus-wide smoking ban will be phased in this Thursday and back in September the school promised they'd help students and faculty quit.

"We'll be having patches and gum and pills and all the things people use to break the addiction and wean off the cigarette addiction. So we'll be putting in as much support as we can," said University Provost Shirley Willinghanz.

Fravert is all for the ban IF there's free support. And he says that support should have come sooner than the day the ban takes effect.

"I've tried to quit before and it is hard. I think that's what appealed to me the most, is that I've tried things before and they've been really expensive. And when I saw, 'oh, they're going to be free,' and I thought, 'maybe this is my chance to get it,'" he said.

He criticizes the University saying, for months he's tried to get information on the smoking ban support plans and gotten nowhere.

We talked to University officials and are told they just met Friday to firm up their smoking ban support plans and they "plan to offer smoking cessation support for students.. Nicotine patches, gum; classes and programs, for up to three months with no cost to students."

Matt says a little heads up would have been nice.

"The only correspondence we've gotten from the University is what we got back in September. 'Hey we're going to go smoke free,' and that's it."

This is not an immediate ban. There will be designated smoking areas on campus for a while. However, the campus will be smoke free by June.