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The Coexistence of Tobacco and Campus LifeThe Smoking Areas of Seoul Campus
Yang Se-young  |  worldyang@hanyang.ac.kr
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[324호] 승인 2014.12.01  
트위터 페이스북 미투데이 요즘 네이버 구글 msn

tarting from January of next year, the government’s plan to raise the price of cigarettes to 1,500 to 2,000 Won will take effect. One of the stated reasons for this policy is to reduce the number of smokers in Korea. According to the National Health and Nutrition Survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, after the prices of cigarettes increased by 500 Won, in 2006, the percentage of Korean male smokers decreased to 45.9 percent, from 57.8 percent in 2004. However, some claim that this effect only lasted for one or two years, and thus the prohibitive effect of raising the price of cigarettes is still dubious.


As this plan to raise the cigarette prices comes into effect, a significant number of Hanyangians will be affected. According to a survey conducted by The Hanyang Journal(The HJ), about 20 percent of Hanyangians are smokers. The problem is that among these Hanyangians, there are some who do not smoke in the designated smoking areas on campus, and as a result, their smoking becomes bothersome to other people passing by. “For me, the worst place to pass by is the bicycle rack near the entrance to the third floor of Engineering Building I. People are still smoking there even though there is a sign that clearly states that it is a no-smoking zone, ” said Ha Min-young, a Junior in the Department of Public Administration.


Places for Cigarette Breaks on Campus

In pursuit of a clean and safe campus life, the Seoul campus of Hanyang University(HYU) designated 25 smoking areas, and began to manage them last August of this year. It is the first time the Seoul campus has assigned smoking zones. Among the 25 designated smoking areas are the flower bed area near the College of Social Sciences Building, the left side of Engineering Building I near the CU convenience store, and the flower bed area near the entrance of the Paiknam Library. At each of these areas, there is a sign which indicates those places are smoking zones, and there are garbage cans located there as well. However, the result of the survey by The HJ showed that only about half of the smoking Hanyangians are aware of the existence of these smoking areas on campus.


For a Clean and Safe Campus Environment

According to the Office of Facilities Management, the criteria for designating a smoking area is assigning a place that is far from building in order to ensure minimum discomfort of non-smokers. The main reason for setting up smoking zones on campus is to avoid safety issues related to smoking. In 2014 alone, there have

been three fires resulting from carelessly discarded cigarette butts. In March, for instance, a fire occurred near the path leading to the College of Social Sciences Building, and another in the flower bed near the stairs connecting Engineering Building I and II. Also, in April, another fire was reportedly caused by smoking near the Graduate School Building.


Other than the safety issues, the Seoul campus has also received complaints from Hanyangians on the online community board of the HYU website. “Non-smoking Hanyangians claimed to have suffered from indiscriminate smoking on campus. Seeing their complaints, we thought we should take active measures on the matter,” said Jung Geun-young, a staff member the Office of Facilities Management.

As the management of smoking areas is still in its early stage, the staff expressed frustration at the low compliance rate of smoking Hanyangians. “Our staff here at Facilities Management as well as sanitation workers and school guards are now informing people who smoke outside the designated smoking area of smoking zones in campus to stop and move to the appropriate areas. However, some people have expressed dissatisfaction about this,” said Jung.


How Smoking Areas Are Viewed

A post by someone who claimed to have witnessed a Hanyangian smoking an electronic cigarette inside Engineering Building I appeared on the Hanyangian Facebook community called “Daenamu Soop.” “Smoking electronic cigarettes also has a risk of spreading second-hand smoke like regular cigarettes, and I want the smoker to smoke in a designated smoking area,” the student wrote. Although the majority of the comments below the post agreed with the student, it cannot be denied that some Hanyangians do not conform to smoking areas. According to the survey by The HJ, when asked whether they think smokers generally abide by the smoking area policy on campus, 66.2 percent of the respondents replied “No.” “I know some smokers complain that they feel they are being discriminated against, but I want them to realize that the non-smokers, as well as smokers, can suffer because of the thoughtless smoking of some inconsiderate individuals,” opined Ha.


In another post at Daenamu Soop, the writer claimed that it is uncomfortable to sit on the bench placed near the College of Humanities Building and the College of Natural Sciences Building, both of which have been designated as smoking areas. Dissatisfaction toward the assigned smoking areas amounted to 37.6 percent of the respondents of the survey, whereas only 15.2 percent of people replied they were satisfied.


Respecting Both Smokers and Non-Smokers

Smoking is not a crime, but sometimes indiscriminate smoking can harm others, or in the very least, make them feel very uncomfortable. Therefore smoking areas were introduced to respect the smoking needs of smokers as well as to deal with safety issues. However, statistics and witness accounts show that most Hanyangians do not agree that the smoking areas plan is working. For the sake of both smokers and non-smokers, smoking Hanyangians should make more efforts to comply with the new smoking area policy. In addition, the Seoul campus should take more actions to resolve the growing negative sentiments regarding the ineffectiveness of the smoking areas.




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