Westminster campus to become smoke free

It's a trend that's sweeping the nation: going smoke free. And a handful of college campuses in Missouri have also made the switch, Washington University in St. Louis and Northwest Missouri State University. Now, Westminster College will be the next one to snuff out the smoke.

There are 15 designated smoking areas across the Westminster College campus. But next school year, the signs will be gone as the campus goes smoke free.

"We have an opportunity here to educate on health measures," Health Educator Amanda Stevens said. "That's helping people see different sides."

Stevens said they've done multiple student surveys and about 70 percent to 75 percent of students are on board with the change.

"I'm glad that they're getting it away from people who don't like it, who it makes sick, who are allergic to it," freshman Amanda Loyd said.

About 30 percent of the college's smokers even support the cause, wishing it would have started sooner.

"I think I would have reduced smoking or even quit by now," senior Fahim Sahray said.

But not all smokers are happy with the smoke free initiative.

"I don't break the rules," freshman Shannon Morris said. "I have a right. I'm paying to be here and I should be able to learn and smoke."

Once Westminster goes smoke free, smokers will have two options. They can smoke in their personal vehicles or they can head off campus.

"We do have a small campus, so we didn't feel it would be that much of a stretch," Stevens said.

The official smoke free kick off date is July 1, 2010. Westminster fraternity houses follow their national fraternal guidelines. They will remain smoke free indoors, but can have a small, designated outdoor smoking area away from main entrances.