Some students will have to choose between studying and smoking. At certain Pennsylvania schools, lighting up on campus is a thing of the past.
On Sept. 10, the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education notified its universities that the provisions of the Clean Indoor Air Act would be implemented on all state campuses. With only one’s day notice, PSSHE prohibited smoking both indoor and outdoor on all of its 14 state universities on Sept. 11.
Since Temple is a Commonwealth university, it is independently operated and is not affected by the enactment of the act. Smoking is not permitted in any dorms or classrooms on campus.
Pennsylvania is not alone in limiting where smoking can occur on campus. In July, New York Gov. David Paterson prohibited smoking at the State University of New York and all its campuses’ dorms.
Gov. Ed Rendell signed the Clean Indoor Air Act on June 13. The legislation prohibits smoking in public places and workplaces.
Senior kinesiology major Anthony O’Donnell said he supports the bill because he does not want to be “studying with smoke.”
University presidents from the state system’s campuses met with government officials to re-evaluate the Clean Indoor Air Act and its provisions. The act lists exemptions that provide college campuses with some flexibility as to what is considered an educational space.
Kenn Marshall, the media relations manager for PSSHE, said the “entire campus is an educational space.” He added that a university’s outside space is open to all visitors and can be used by professors who hold classes outdoor for students.
According to the act, a public space is considered to be any area where the public is invited.
As an urban school, Temple has a large campus that extends from the suburbs of Ambler to Center City.
Viet Bui, a junior biochemistry major said since Temple is located in a “metropolis area, there’s worse things for the air.” Instead of a smoking ban, Bui said smokers should “clean up after themselves” to provide a cleaner campus.
Some students said the interpretation of the act would violate their personal rights as smokers.
Mary Kasenchak, a sophomore biology major, said the time it would take to walk off a state-owned campus for a cigarette in between classes would be inconvenient.
O’Donnell supports the act and said it will protect the health of nonsmokers. He said smokers should choose to light up in their private residences.
Though Brian Ward is not a smoker, the sophomore public relations major said there should be a middle ground for the problem. He said he believes taking away smoking on campuses infringes upon student rights and isolated smoking areas are better than eliminating all outdoor smoking.
It is a “big world,” Ward said. “You got to smoke somewhere.”
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