Ever since its implementation 10 years ago, the University of Guam’s smoking policy has seen its fair share of challenges regarding its enforcement.
UOG Chief Planning Officer David S. Okada, one of the founders of the policy, provided insight on the how the policy came into fruition.
According to Okada, “the smoking policy is an initiative, that’s within the nation. There has been a drive for universities to support no smoking on campus. We wanted to be part of that initiative, especially since we have oversight of the cancer grant, which is a big part here of our support and research.So to help support and complement the things that we research and do, the smoking policy was in line with all those things within the community and to better the health of individuals.”
When asked on his opinion on the effectiveness of policy thus far, Okada explained the difficulties of enforcing the policy on campus.
“For enforcement purposes, the best we could do, like say if you were the smoker is, ‘can you please not smoke on campus?’ If you choose not to do so, the best we can do is have you removed from campus if you continue to smoke at that time.”
Guam Public Law 30-63 prohibits smoking within 20 feet of any public entrance or exit. If individuals are caught violating this law, they may be liable to pay fines up to $500. UOG falls under this category with the aforementioned policy, but only law enforcement can make citations.
Okada expounded on the enforcement dilemma: “The challenge is even though this is now public law and if a GPD officer came on campus and I’m smoking, he can cite me. But the question now becomes is this the best use of an officer’s time?”
Okada explained that this particular enforcement issue can be resolved if G4S, the company which provides security around campus, can be enabled to give the same type of citations to those that are caught smoking.
UOG Integrated Marketing Communications Director Jonas Macapinlac, who worked with Okada in creating the policy, ushered sentiments towards the student body on campus to help add to the cause.
“I would like to see students taking the lead with promoting no smoking on campus,” Macapinlac said. “Now I know there are a lot of students that smoke and vape but there are a lot that don’t. So to put it all on the University administration to kind of police this, it’s tough, so we have to do it as a community.”