VSU is a smoke free university at the same time, university with many cigarette smokers. Isn’t it ironic? But why do they have the guts to smoke? Does our school lack campaigns to our students that smoking inside the university is strictly prohibited? Or the students just don’t know we are in a smoke free zone? There are really a lot of questions roaming in our minds with regards to this matter.

However, there were already many students who have raised their voices in this issue. Some have reported it to the University Students Service Office (USSO) and others have raised their arguments in the form of writing. In fact, the publication has already released an article with the same issue 2 years ago. But it seems that smokers in the university are too numb to listen and follow rules in the campus. And here’s more, the smokers are invoking their rights on smoking inside the campus because there is no one averting them against their wrong doing or if there is, they’ll just ignore it. In short, this issue is not over!

Cite this example, I was walking in the market and as I walked along the stairs near the laundry shop I saw a group of men smoking. I passed along them and said, “Smoking is strictly prohibited in this school”. And this was what one of them said, “Badlung-badlung kaman maestro man gane ni ako katapad oh!” Yes, it has been confirmed when I looked at that guy beside him, I recognized the face immediately. Here’s a clue, he is an instructor from the department where you can inhale the smell of progress.

Another thing is that, we all know that VSU anniversary is a big event that is much awaited by all the students and many guests. Just the same as our school is known to be a smoke free university, right? Yet, there were guys who smoke in the VSU market despite the huge crowd because of the succeeding events – such as intramurals and anniversary of the campus. Take note, they’re not just smoking but displaying the cigarette in the public.

Also, according to the University President in his State of the University Address (SUA) recently, “Some of them (smokers) are sons of our faculty members who also insist smoking in the university”. In fact, I spotted some faculty and staff who smoke inside the campus. With this, what can we imply in the smoking issue in the university? Probably it will remain perennial; how can we rely from the guidance that the staff could offer when they can’t even correct the wrong doings of their children or when they themselves cannot even discipline themselves? Well they should action to that first. I understand that nobody’s perfect. I am not saying that they don’t have the right to discipline students about smoking but what I am emphasizing here is that someone should be credible to if he put his words into action.

I can still remember an implementation in the campus that stating that if somebody was caught littering inside the school’s premises, the one who witnesses the wrong action can report it to USSO. Better if you have evidence with you. Good evidence will be photo. The same action is applied in the smoking issue. Report it to the USSO immediately so that they will have their first warning from the office if ever you caught one. But, not all of us can dare to do it. Some don’t have the courage to report the case due to the lack of evidence, lack of willingness or the witness do not want to offend the smoker because of the conscience of putting somebody at risk and embarrassment.

Upon knowing all the facts stated above and considering the one I have quoted from SUA of the university president, what can the university administration do about it? If they will consider my suggestion, they could just continue to implement the rule “no smoking” in a stricter way. Anyone who will be caught smoking inside the university is automatically punishable for a guidance call. In that moment, the guidance counselor will do the rest of the “disciplinary stages”.

We are now through with the university administration, we will now move down to the student council. The council can have a hard labor implementation to whoever is caught smoking. There will be no signing of clearance unless the hard labor is complied. Better to do the hard labor than not being able to enroll the next semester.

How about here in the Amaranth, what can we do to lessen or to erase the issue inside the VSU community? You can send us photos of the person you caught smoking, the name, course or any details will do for as long as it is valid and acceptable. Simply report to us any smoking problem of the university. Remember, the publication is your voice and it is our duty to relay your message to the upper council. What we need is a factual and reliable source of your information and nothing will follow but our action.

Smoking issue is not over, so we need each other’s help and cooperation to stop this problem. That is, if you do not want to have “The Smokey Truth 3.0” article on your next issue of the amaranth magazine. Be concern citizen and do your part. Do not hesitate to do your service for the whole university. You can’t just save the school but also a life.

Smoking is not only bad to one’s health but also to other people breathing the smoke. Smoking is also a threat to our environment given that we are awarded recently as the most eco-friendly university in the whole country. And it is really sad to think that the smoking scenario within the VSU vicinity gets worse each time. Other schools, have solved this issue, why not here? Each one of us controls this smokey reality – smokers and to non-smokers. We have to achieve the solidarity in order to gain the assurance that we are living in a smoke-free university. Not just in words but also in action.