What a drag …

Carrie Petrick

Students exhale their dislike of new smoking policy

Sophomore Katie Binder talks with freshman Mike Binder as he takes a drag off his cigarette outside one of Wright Hall’s newly designated smoking doors.

Credit: Andrew popik

Pat Iafelice stood shivering in front of Tri-Towers wearing a huge blue parka. He took a hit of his cigarette and said, “At least a shelter would be nice.”

No, the freshman justice studies major isn’t homeless. He was speaking of the new smoking policy near the residence halls.

The new smoking policy went into effect Tuesday. Each residence hall will have at least one door designated for smokers. Smoking will not be permitted by any other door.

The doors chosen to be smoker-friendly are not below or adjacent to a student’s room, said Scott McCallen, president of the Kent Interhall Council.

The new policy was formed because many students complained about smoke from outside going back into the building, McCallen said.

If students violate the smoking policy, they could be written up, he said.

This is not the first time the university has changed smoking rules. In fall 2002, the residence halls were all made non-smoking. In the early 1990s, Ohio banned all smoking in government buildings. The two exceptions were residence halls and pubs on college campuses, said Nancy Schiappa, associate director of Alumni Relations.

Deadly habit

The American Lung Association gave Ohio an F in smoke-free air and an F in youth cigarette access in its State of Tobacco Control Report Card. California, Delaware and Massachusetts all topped the report card with A’s.

According to the American Lung Association, cancer was the second cause of death among Americans in 2001, accounting for 22.9 percent of all deaths.

While the number of adults who smoke in Portage County is below the Ohio average, it remains slightly above the nation’s adult smoking average. Portage county has a 23 percent adult smoking rate as compared with the nation’s 22 percent, according to the Portage County Tobacco Prevention Coalition.

Danielle Edmonds, freshman nursing major, said she thinks the new smoking policy isn’t fair to smokers because non-smokers can walk around the smokers.

Ben Prestien, a freshman exploratory major who lives in Wright Hall, does not like the policy because the former smoker-friendly picnic table has been removed from the Tri-Towers area.

“Every friend I have I knew from the smoking table,” he said.

Contact news correspondent Carrie Petrick at [email protected].