Colleges Consider Smoking Bans
Published: Monday, February 27, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 03:02
While a number of universities across the nation are considering limiting smoking on campus, administrators at Georgetown are not planning any changes to current policy.
The Georgetown University Medical Center became smoke-free as of January 2011.
Health Education Services Director Carol Day said that campus officials have discussed the possibility of tightening smoking restrictions on the main campus in the past, but a university-wide ban remains unlikely.
"I believe that we're not readily moving in that direction," Day said.
Though 12.8 percent of Georgetown students identified themselves as tobacco users, according to the 2010 National College Health Assessment, the university aims to limit smoking on campus.
"It is the policy of Georgetown University to achieve an environment as close to smoke-free as practically possible," the Student Affairs policy reads.
This means that smoking indoors is forbidden campus-wide and is prohibited within 25 feet of entryways, windows and air vents, according to university spokeswoman Stacy Kerr.
Some students said they did not think a total ban was necessary.
"As long as smokers are outside, that's alright with me," Sydney Dinenberg (SFS '14) said.
Others, however, thought a ban could be beneficial.
"[Smoking] is harmful to the body," Rashawn Davis (COL '14) said. "[The ban] is a tactic that can save students' lives."
At The George Washington University, a group of students known as the Colonials for Clean Air have been spearheading a movement to make GWU's campus more smoke-free.
According to the group's website, the goal is to change GWU's policy to prohibit smoking within 25 feet of university buildings.
"We are gaining more and more student support and we are very excited about it. [GWU] just had student elections and we were able to add a referendum on the ballot asking whether students would support the change in [GWU's] outdoor smoking policy. The results showed that 66 percent of the voters would be in favor of the change," Neela Satyanarayana and Jahmeilia Paul, two second-year graduate students leading the campaign, wrote in an email.
Other schools considering a ban include Harvard University and schools in the University of Texas system.
Harvard's Student Life Committee debated an anti-smoking proposal at a meeting last Thursday, according to a Feb. 24 article in the school's student newspaper, The Crimson.
Meanwhile the policy shift in Texas came after a state agency, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute, adopted legislation requiring grant recipients to prohibit smoking in and around buildings in which research is conducted.
"I think we're ahead of the wave … but there certainly is a wave," Bill Grimson, the executive director of the institute, told the Texas Tribune.