Colleges become increasingly smoke-free

Over the past few years, colleges and universities across the United States have been dealing with the vast amount of college student smokers. There has been a recent trend of movements being formed aimed at banning smoking at schools altogether.

In 2007, the SUNY Board of Trustees banned smoking in residence halls at all SUNY schools to eliminate the dangers of second-hand smoke. Now there’s been an increase in campus-wide bans on smoking and tobacco.

As of July 1, 2011, there are more than 500 universities across the country that have adapted to the 100 percent smoke-free or tobacco-free policies. In 2011 alone, 120 schools were added to that list.

According to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR), approximately 30 percent of college students are smokers. ANR also stresses that people ages 18-24 are the prime targets for tobacco advertising and is an important age group to the entire industry. City University of New York (CUNY) became the largest smoke-free public university system in the United States at the beginning of the spring semester. There has been speculation as to if it is possible for SUNY to pass a similar act at its institutions.

“I don’t smoke, but I don’t think it would be right to not allow students the right to do it anywhere on campus,” Oswego State senior Christina Logel said. “They live here too.”

In October, SUNY Canton announced that a smoke and tobacco-free policy would take effect in early 2013. Canton is the first in the SUNY system to make an attempt to ban smoking on its campus.

“I think that if people followed the laws set in place that say you must be 20 feet from any building to smoke on campus, then I would be against the ban. However this is not the case,” junior Bryan Rose said.

Whether such an act could be passed at Oswego State is unknown, but unlikely.

“A campus-wide smoking ban would require the combined efforts of every branch of the college with specific regards to Residents Life and Housing, the University Police Department and Campus Administration,” said SA vice president Nathan Hemmes in an email. “However, the demands that such a ban would place on campus resources are far beyond what I see possible for the campus to meet.”