University to Implement Smoking Ban in Dorms

University to Implement Smoking Ban in Dorms

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

Smoking will be prohibited in all Boston College residence halls beginning this fall, as the result of a policy recently approved by the University administration.

Under the policy, smoking also is banned within a distance of 20 feet of any residence hall on either the Main or Newton campuses.

Administrators said plans are underway to create outdoor smoking areas with benches and receptacles that would be located near residence halls.

The new policy will essentially create a smoke-free Boston College, since smoking was banned in academic and administrative facilities in 1995.

"This is a very, very important change and will create a far healthier environment in our student living quarters," said Vice President for Student Affairs Cheryl Presley.

Presley credited the efforts of administrators and students in bringing about the policy, and said she had heard little or no objection from students who smoke.

Director of Residential Life Henry Humphreys, who reported "a number of very positive responses from students and parents alike" to the smoking ban, said resident assistants will enforce the new policy in every residence hall.

"Some students will say that we are taking away their rights. What we really are doing is telling them that it is not their right to infringe on other students' rights."

Director of Facilities Services Roger Goode said smoking not only poses a potential health hazard but can damage University property. For example, he said, BC each year must replace residence hall carpeting ruined by cigarette burns.

"The effect of smoking on student living quarters is significant," said Goode. "This new policy will also save us money in the long run as our costs will be lower."

Goode added that the ban could reduce the number of fire alarms in residential halls.

The impetus for the new smoking ban came after administrators researched policies at other universities and, in conjunction with student leaders, polled Boston College students on whether they approved of smoke-free residence halls.

Administrators singled out Jonathan Lennon '05 for his role in the University's adoption of the residence hall smoking ban. Lennon, an American Cancer Society volunteer, circulated a petition to change the residence hall smoking policy and discussed the proposed policy change with students.

Lennon says his involvement in smoking-related issues was spurred by a close family friend's death from lung cancer some years ago.

"At the time my dad was smoking and I basically got him to quit cold turkey," said Lennon, a political science and history major from Milford, Conn.

Upon his arrival at Boston College last year, Lennon says, he was pleased to learn that the administration was contemplating a smoking ban in residence halls. Lennon plans to continue raising awareness of the dangers of smoking, to smokers and non-smokers alike. The revised residence hall policy, he says, is a good first step.

"In the long run, we hope that it will save lives."

 

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