In a split vote, the Sampson Community College Board of Trustees sided in favor of making the college campus a smoke-free one following a lengthy discussion at its meeting earlier this week — however several logistics remain to be hashed out.
Although the motion did pass, there still remains a good amount of work to be done to implement that designation going forward, including identifying possible areas where smoking might be permitted.
Chick Gancer, chair of the Sampson County Partners for Healthy Carolinians, the volunteer non-profit group who represents various health organizations throughout the county, was notified the issue would be on the Board of Trustees’ Tuesday agenda and sat in on the vote with another group member.
“Although it did pass,” Gancer said, “the fine-tuning of it is not in place. I can see there is going to be a lot more work on it and it will eventually come to pass — like it did in the high schools years ago when we were campaigning for that too. But that is high school.”
He said it is a different ballgame when dealing with a college. Some concerns during the trustees’ discussion were that the student population is older and in some cases more blue-collar, so there is an increased sensitivity to these type of issues. Sampson also has an agricultural background steeped in the growing of tobacco, a point often broached in any talks concerning a transition to smoke-free status.
Up until now, Sampson Community College has been in the minority in not having a smoke-free designation, according to Gancer. Even now that the step has been taken, there is still a long road ahead, including the identification and possible permitting of special areas for smoking.
“If it was passed, they didn’t have a policy to tell the students where they could go for smoking,” Gancer noted. “There was a considerable amount of discussion as to where and what to do for the people who are denied smoking. They weren’t ready to designate that.”
“There is going to be more on this,” he concluded.
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.