Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

In response to the editorial, “Residence Services Should Butt Out,” I’d like to share some additional information and support in regards to the implementation of the Kent Interhall Council tobacco policy.

This past fall, Kent State, Ashland University and Central State University implemented a collegiate tobacco initiative on the three campuses in order to encourage tobacco policy change and provide prevention and cessation opportunities to students.

As a result of this initiative, a Tobacco Prevention Task Force was created on the Kent State campus to bring people together to help guide the efforts and work together on tobacco issues. Representatives from Residence Services attend the meetings and shared the KIC plan to address tobacco policy in residences.

The fact that the residence hall tobacco policy change was completely student-initiated is very encouraging. Because the policy was student driven, much emphasis was placed on hearing students’ opinions and concerns. Meetings were advertised on flyers, and many of the KIC meetings were attended by smokers and non-smokers. As a result of much discussion and feedback, the policy KIC implemented is actually a compromise from an earlier policy that prohibited smoking within 20 feet of any residence hall entrance.

This issue is not unique to Kent State. Other Ohio universities enforce smoking policies on their campuses as well:

– Ohio State: Residents are permitted to smoke outside in public areas that do not inconvenience or disturb other residents.

– Youngstown State: Residents are permitted to smoke on designated sides of residence halls.

– Ohio University: Although smoking is permitted outdoors around the residence, consideration for non-smokers must be given. Every effort should be made to keep second-hand smoke from entering into non-smoking areas, including student rooms, lobbies, apartments and offices that are located near areas where smokers congregate outside of a building. If asked to do so, smokers should move to protect non-smoking areas from second-hand smoke.

– Miami University: Students may smoke outside, provided they are at least 25 feet away from doors and windows to avoid smoke entering residence hall rooms or public areas.

– University of Cincinnati: Currently voting on an on-campus smoking ban; in the case that students approve it, UC will become the largest university in the nation to have a smoking ban.

– Ashland University: The student-initiated policy does not allow smoking in any residence hall or fraternity house or outside near the entrances of any residential unit.

KIC should be commended for their initiative to address and implement a student-driven tobacco policy. Addressing this issue will benefit the health of all students, specifically in regards to secondhand smoke.

Laura Buckeye

Director of Health Promotion through Education Center

Laura Vernon

KSU Tobacco Prevention Task Force member