Why does Temple University choose to ignore the city’s smoking ban as stated in Philadelphia Code Chapter 10-600? An amendment to this code (10-602) prohibits smoking in public places.
In addition to indoor environment such as restaurants, classrooms, workplaces and all public buildings, outdoor dining as well as entrances to buildings are included in this code.
Yet Temple chooses not to enforce this law. Why? The weather is getting warm so I decided to have lunch at the outdoor dining area located on 12th Street above Montgomery Avenue. Low and behold, people seated at the tables were smoking. They were smoking while waiting for their food order. They were smoking just standing around talking with friends.
Most violators were students, but some were faculty, maintenance people and administrative personal. Not a single “No Smoking” sign is posted in sight, just “Outdoor Dining” banners hanging from polls. I contacted the health department at Temple and informed them of the issue at hand. Their response was one of surprise.
They were shocked that this was going on. They also did not know how to handle the matter. As expected, they agreed with my observation, but insisted that the responsibility of enforcing the law be with the managing company for the strip of eateries there. The tables, according to the health department, belong to Temple.
They also claim that the managing company of the stores is not licensed for outdoor dining, therefore does not have to enforce the no smoking law. Why then are there “Outdoor Dining” banners flying proudly on the site? Someone is obviously in violation of the law. On March 23, I sent President Ann Weaver Hart an e-mail formally complaining about the situation and asking for her help.
On April 2, I sent a second letter. I’ve not received a reply to either one. In that letter I also mentioned that I believe that smoking should be banned from Temple campuses all together. In the last two weeks, I’ve contacted the “Hot Line” for smoking violations, Licenses and Inspections, The Mayors Complaint Office and Michael Nutter’s, main advocate for the non-smoking bill, office and registered my complaint. Not a single one has responded.
John Paul Gazzara
Sophomore, elementary education
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