FAMU administrator Mary Simmons pushes for a tobacco-free campus

By Staff Writer | Feb 01, 2016 10:55 PM EST

The director of the Florida A&M University's School of Allied Health's Division of Cardiopulmonary Science Mary Simmons is allegedly very aware of what smoking and tobacco use would do to a person's heart and lungs, especially African-Americans. With that, Simmons believes that FAMU should be at the forefront to banning smoking and tobacco use.

According to NVS24, Simmons claimed that this notion is something that she has been talking with others on campus since she has been at FAMU for 13 years. She oversees the four-year program that trains respiratory therapists and that she has observed that tobacco has always been marketed to African-Americans.

"This is something that I have been talking about with others on campus," stated Simmons, who has been at FAMU for 13 years. She oversees the four-year program that trains respiratory therapists. "Big Tobacco has always marketed to African-Americans. I have taken care of many patients affected by tobacco.

She then went on to claim, "We've had complaints about second-hand smoke, some faculty have asthma, and are affected. And there's third-hand smoke from that dropped butt. I'm still getting that smoke."

Tallahassee Democrat also mentioned that the director recently secured support from the Faculty Senate in her advocacy to get the university designated a tobacco-free, smoke-free environment. But then, the process of making FAMU smoke and tobacco-free could be for several months and it also requires a considerable amount of talks to address different concerns, such as infringing on smokers' rights, understanding addictions, health concerns and even the reasoning behind bringing the issue to the forefront.

 However, Simmons still believes it's time Rattlers became part of the solution against a problem that not only affects students, but also the FAMU faculty and staff. Each year smoking related illnesses claim about 47,000 black lives in America.

Moreover, Simmons also added that the Faculty Senate agreed to proceed with forming an ad hoc committee. This would include a representative of  the entire FAMU campus, including union representatives, to discuss the notion, know the proposal and to decide on whether to implement the plan.

And if the body would agree, a final proposal would be approved by the Faculty Senate and would be forwarded to President Elmira Mangum. And if the president approves, it would be forwarded to the board of trustees for approval as it is a policy decision, as reported by USA TODAY.

For now, the proposal may have to go through a lot before the approval for a tobacco-free campus would be implemented. But then,Simmons believe that if the proposal is set to be approved, it could be implemented by the fall.

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