Public smoking ban takes effect today

Jackie Valley

Jeff Rex, freshman visual communication design major, takes a break to smoke. KATIE ROUPE | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

Today the Rathskeller will be without its distinctive scent – the smell of smoke lingering in the air.

SmokeFreeOhio takes effect today after the passage of Issue 5 on the November ballot. The law prohibits smoking in public places and places of employment in the state of Ohio.

For Kent State, that also means an adjustment in the university’s smoking policy. All buildings on campus – including the Rathskeller and the third-floor smoking lounge in the Student Center – will be smoke free.

Residence halls will also remain smoke free. Smoking at designated entrances will no longer be in accordance with the law, said Betsy Joseph, director of residence services.

Previously designated entrances for outdoor smoking will be eliminated because smoke can still enter the building through windows and vents, she added.

However, outdoor smoking will be allowed 20 feet away from any building.

Of course, the success of this law depends on people following it, Joseph said.

“At this point, what we intend to do is, if and when we see people smoking near entrances, we are going to remind them of the law,” she said.

Signs reminding people of the new law are also being posted around campus.

So far, students have mixed reactions to SmokeFreeOhio.

“I know when I did live in the dorms, when people smoked under my windows, the smell would come straight up and it would bother me,” said Kate Mileti, junior interior design major.

Senior English major Jon Booth, who is a social smoker, said a smoking policy should be the owner’s decision at private establishments but agreed that smoking should be eliminated in campus buildings.

“Nonsmokers, who are paying the same amount of money to attend, should be able to go to places without having to worry about smoke,” he said.

To comply with the law, the Rathskeller will take away all ashtrays at the bar and tables.

Nathan Mikita, a bartender at the Rathskeller, said the bar’s business will likely be affected by the smoking ban.

“It’s definitely going to hurt it,” he said. “People come down here to smoke and then they will drink.”

Matt Ameer, a senior English and philosophy major who also works at the Rathskeller, said he will continue to go to bars and restaurants but admitted it will be more irritating when he wants to smoke.

Senior English major Katy Rittle said she hopes the inconvenience of smoking will have positive benefits.

“I hope that it will help motivate people to stop smoking,” she said.

Mikita, who is currently a smoker, plans to do just that.

“Smoking is a social thing,” he said. “It’s a waste of money otherwise.”

Contact news correspondent Jackie Valley at [email protected].