The Pavilion Bar manager has dismissed rumours that it would face closure if Trinity were to become a tobacco-free university. Speaking to Trinity News, Jason Lynch disputed the claim made by Brady Manning, campaign manager for the ‘No’ to tobacco-free Trinity side, that the bar would be forced to shut its doors if smoking is banned from campus. However, he agreed that the Pavilion would be confronted with a steep drop in revenue as groups with smokers among their number would relocate to off-campus bars. He also said that this could lead to job losses at the bar and lower revenue for DUCAC, the sports body which receive significant funding from the bar.
The claim is one among a number of arguments made by the campaign team. Another argument put forward by the ‘No’ side is that forcing students to leave campus to smoke constitutes an unreasonable restriction on their freedom. In place of the allegedly excessive prohibition across college, the ‘No’ campaign is in favour of restricting legal smoking to specific zones on campus. This would assuage fears that the status quo jeopardises the health of non-smokers, Bradley Manning told Trinity News. Manning also argued that requiring students to leave campus to smoke would lead to a high concentration of smokers at the limited number of campus entrances, increasing the risk of exposure to second-hand smoke. The point was at centre of a protest held by his team last Wednesday, when a number of smoker activists congregated outside Front Gate to demonstrate what a “tobacco-free Trinity” could look like.
Speaking to Trinity News, Manning also argued that a campus-wide ban on smoking would be impossible to enforce. The constant stream of tourists on campus would make maintaining a tobacco-free Trinity difficult, he said. In addition, Manning cites as evidence for the policy’s unenforceability the fact that technically it is prohibited to smoke within four feet of the arts block. As this comparatively minor regulation goes completely unenforced, Manning is dubious that college will be able to prohibit smoking completely.
However, Gabriel Adewusi, the human health and disease student and campaign manager for the ‘Yes’ to tobacco-free Trinity side, is confident that a smoking ban can be rolled out across Trinity. He points to the fact that smoke-free policies have been successfully implemented in over 1,000 colleges across the USA.
Manning remains confident that student opinion is on his side. As such, his small team’s strategy for success at a potential referendum is to maximise turnout. However, in an April 2013 survey of 5,500 members of the college community, 54% supported TFT. Among undergraduates, this figure was lower, just over 50%; but among staff and postgraduates, support for the policy was much higher, at 65% and 58% respectively.