There hasn't been any smokin' in the boys' or girls' rooms at Florida Keys Community College for decades. And pending the results of a new survey, the school may end up with a completely smoke-free campus by 2015.
Acting on a directive from college President Jonathan Gueverra, FKCC Student Government Association President Kourtney Wainer recently posted a smoking survey on the home page of the college's website, http://www.fkcc.edu/ as well as on its Facebook page.
All are welcome to take part in the poll, which seeks to gauge support for various options, up to and including, a campus-wide ban on pipes, cigars, hookahs, kreteks, chewing tobacco, bidis, and, of course, the 20-to-a-pack cigarettes.
The survey will remain active until Friday, at which point, Wainer said, SGA volunteers will conduct face-to-face interviews with students and staff on campus. The results will be passed up the chain of command at the college, for an eventual ruling and plan of action.
Currently, smoking is permitted outside of campus buildings. Options being considered include allowing smoking only in cars, or designated smoking areas, to a full ban.
"We're just trying to find out where the student body wants to go with this," Wainer said. "Should they choose to be completely smoke free, then that will be our recommendation. If they want to go with smoking huts, then we'll be OK with that, too."
Wainer added that should FKCC adopt a total ban on tobacco products, the SGA would reach out to the college's Nursing Department, as well as the local Area Health Education Center (AHEC) for help creating a smoking cessation program.
"We're participating in the Great American Smokeout on Nov. 15," Wainer said. "We're going to be sponsoring a barbecue on campus as part of that."
Mary Martin, who works at the college as the coordinator of advertising and publications, calls herself a heavy smoker and is hoping a complete ban will help her quit once and for all.
"I'm very supportive of the idea, especially since we now have the kids from the Key West Collegiate Academy [high school] on campus," Martin said. "We're supposed to be leading by example, and it's kind of embarrassing for me to be lighting up in public here. People should be able to do what they want, but not in other people's faces, especially young people."