No if’s, and’s or butts

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A smoke-free campaign has been enacted in order to Òclear the airÓ around the Bailey/Howe Library.

The entrance of Bailey/Howe was once lined with students taking cigarette breaks. This left the steps littered with cigarette butts and nonsmokers to walk reluctantly through plumes of smoke in order to enter the building.

Now, these same steps have been highlighted with cyan chalk in order to accent the banner that declares: ÒLetÕs Clear the Air Here.Ó

Last week, representatives from the library and the UVM Eco-Reps united to spread awareness about this policy, but the two served different purposes: the library encouraged the smoke-free policy on behalf of students and faculty, while the Eco-Reps focused solely on proper disposal of cigarette butts on behalf of the environment.

The library steps now display messages highlighting the effects of secondhand smoke painted on the ground as a form of justification for the campaign.

The Eco-Reps communicated facts on the ecological impacts of littered cigarette butts that are responsible for the deaths of millions of organisms every year.

ÒWe arenÕt trying to be the Ôsmoking police,ÕÓ Eco-Rep senior Brittany Kelleher explained. ÒWe are just trying to promote environmental responsibility for the sake of a healthier planet.Ó

It is estimated that 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered globally each year, according to the Ocean Conservancy.

The reception of the campaign has been one of controversy.

It was clear that some of the passersby were thrilled that they were able to breathe with ease as they passed through the libraryÕs corridor. But the end of a popular smoking spot on campus did provoke a minimal amount of student distaste.

If the campaign maintains its effectiveness, it is possible other areas on campus will follow a similar course and move toward President Tom SullivanÕs proposal of a tobacco-free campus.

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