Smoking is harmful and illegal in public places. But the scene in the campus is different. College students are still finding their own ways and means to smoke in the DU campus.
In 2008, an anti smoking campaign was launched in the North Campus under which students found puffing on campus, were fined Rs 500 each. But you can still find students smoking freely. “A lot of posters and banners were put up across the campus when this law was passed. Even the panwallahas stopped selling cigarettes. But who cares? After sometime, everything became normal and now you see students smoking freely,” says Abhinav Saxena, a third year B.Com student of Shri Ram College of Commerce.
In fact, students have created their own zones for smoking. There is a ‘sutta corner’ in Miranda House and something called ‘scholars adda’ in Mass Communication Research Centre (MCRC) of Jamia Millia University. “We smoke in the backyard of our college campus,” says a student of Miranda House. “We smoke out of our own choice. Why we should be told whether to smoke or not?” asks Danish, an MCRC student.
Are the teachers and non-smokers fine with those smoking in the campus? “We have a lot of visiting faculty members who smoke and don’t object students doing the same. But I think smoking should be completely banned in the campus,” says Atul Sinha, a professor with MCRC. However, a non-smoker from the same
university, says, “If college authorities provide students with a smoking zone, we are fine with it. At least, they won’t be doing it elsewhere.”