Butt stops are scarce where smokers gather
By James Jenkinson -December 12, 2011
It’s Wardy time and you’re outside chatting with some charming creature, sharing a Belmont in the biting breeze of fall. The mood is social and the conversation is stimulating. The dart’s giving you something to do with your hands. Suddenly PATROL appears, crushing the autumn ambiance by shooing you off the A&A steps. Just feet away, you look back at your warmed in bum prints and can’t help but wonder why such measures are necessary.
“People just like sitting down to smoke,” says Newfoundlander Jesse Burns. “It’s kind of annoying when people are on either side of the A&A steps, “ adds Aonghus Garrison. “But that doesn’t really bother me too much. As long as the butts don’t wind up everywhere, that’s really all I care about.” Rather than where people are smoking, the primary concern amongst students seems to be that the cigarettes don’t become an eye-sore. That means no more attempts to impress your friends with a 10 metre butt flick over the heads of some poor passers-by. Even non-smokers such as first-year student Grace Jackson agree the whiff of cigarette smoke between the A&A and the library is no cause to get your skinny jeans in a snarl.
In total, there are five butt stops on King’s campus. Only one of these five, the one near the library steps, is in the proximity of where students actually smoke. The others all look like they’ve been placed with all the carefulness of a drunken dancer. For example, the one ‘closest’ to Middle Bay is 20 metres from the door. If it was any closer to the curb, it might get more use as a parking meter. “I like that they have the butt stops” says Liam Hannah, a FYP student. “But they really need to be closer to the buildings. I know they’re trying to draw people away from the entrances, but it really doesn’t end up happening. In reality, if you want the butt stops to serve a purpose, move them closer to the building because that’s where people are.”
According to Nick Hatt, Dean of King’s, it was the Occupational Health and Safety Committee, of which he is Chair, that gave the final ruling. “We have ensured that the university is in compliance with the Smoke Free Places Act of the Province of Nova Scotia, which prohibits smoking within four metres of a door, window or ventilation intake at a place of employment.” If four metres is the legal requirement, the limo’s length dividing Middle Bay and its butt-stop is unnecessary and counter-productive. Have a glance around each of the Bay’s doors to figure this out. Also troubling is the absence of an ashtray by the NAB. Anyone with a class in the NAB knows that professors and students alike frequent this area to smoke. The grass outside the doors is littered with butts. If the NAB doesn’t get a butt-stop soon, Edward Burtynsky could very well be paying a visit by next spring “I used to sit on that grass”, says first-year student Owen Woodside. “Don’t really want to nowadays though.”
The situation is puzzling. On the one hand, most students really aren’t concerned about people smoking near the entrances. On the other, the receptacles are placed far enough away to ensure they’ll seldom be used. Although a solution is likely complex, requiring the joint-efforts of many a panel with an array of bright button-down shirts and heels of varying thickness, first year Ben Singbeil thinks he’s got it. “Really man, can’t we just move them?”