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Blanket Ban on College Smoking Edges Closer

Many schools are moving towards totally smoke-free campuses—not without resistance.


Photo via Breathe easy.

By Valerie Tejeda


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In the near future, you may not be allowed to light up at any US colleges and universitiesmany schools across the country are pushing for smoking bans on campuses. Such bans cover both outdoor and indoor, smoking, as well advertising and sales of tobacco in any form. They apply to students, staff and faculty. The anti-smoking movement is an attempt to reduce the ill-effects of secondhand smoke, making smoke-free dorms universal. City University of New York will enforce a ban on advertising in September, for example, while California’s state system will introduce its ban in 2013. The University of Missouri at Columbia will go completely smoke-free in 2014, and it's projected that many more schools will follow. "There are many reasons why a college or university may choose to pursue this type of policy, whether secondhand smoke, dorm fires, or other issues," says Bronson Frick, associate director of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights. "They are also questioning what the role of tobacco is in this academic setting, where we're supposed to be standing for truth and training the next generation of leaders."

Not everyone welcomes the bans. "This isn't a health issue anymore. It's a moral issue," says smoking rights advocate Audrey Silk. "There's absolutely zero reason for a smoking ban outdoors. They use it as a tool. Harm from smoke outdoors is an excuse to frustrate smokers into quitting because they can't find a place to light up." That's a charge many anti-smokers would happily admit to. While tobacco companies have also questioned whether universities have the right to enforce such prohibitions, a blanket ban is still odds-on to become a reality. 

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