Smoking to Be Banned Inside University Gates?

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First it was freshman residences, then all dorms, and now the main campus: Columbia University’s tobacco policy working group has “has forwarded a set of recommendations, including a proposal to prohibit smoking in within the gated areas considered the core of campus.” The policy would go into effect in next year.

In explaining the proposed changes, the website cites, among other reasons, an “increase in number of city, state, and federal regulations regarding smoking,” “consistent decrease in number of smokers and increase in community support for more smoke-free spaces,” “encouraging healthier behaviors that translate to workplace benefits,” and “less litter, more physically attractive campus environment.”

A final decision has not been made yet on the recommendations, as open feedback sessions are being held next Tuesday and Friday, as well as the following Wednesday and Thursday (times and locations after the jump). Students can also provide confidential feedback online. A final decision will be made in the summer.

Members of Columbia University Community:

In 2008, following inquiries from the NYC Health Commissioner and changes to New York State law, Columbia University convened a tobacco workgroup to consider changes to the University tobacco policies.  The group, made up of student and staff representative from 12 different schools and departments, has investigated best practices for tobacco policy on college campuses around the country.  The workgroup has forwarded a set of recommendations, including a proposal to prohibit smoking in within the gated areas considered the core of campus.  As a part of this policy consideration, we are soliciting feedback from students, faculty, and staff.  We invite you to visit the following website to review the proposal (including maps and proposed designated smoking areas) and provide confidential feedback: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/studentservices/docs/smoking/index.html

In addition to providing comments via this website, you may also elect to attend one of the following four open forum feedback sessions:

  • Tuesday, April 21, 2009 from 12:00 – 1:00pm in Lerner 477
  • Friday, April 24, 2009 from 12:00 – 1:00pm in Lerner 568
  • Wednesday, April 29, 2009 from 5:00 – 6:00pm in Lerner 569
  • Thursday, April 30, 2009 from 5:00 – 6:00pm in Lerner 569

Following this feedback period, the proposal and community comments will be forwarded to University administration for consideration.  A decision on the proposal is expected to be made during the summer of 2009.  If you have additional questions or comments, please email Michael McNeil at [email protected].  Thank you in advance for your feedback.

Michael McNeil

Assistant Director

Alice! Health Promotion Program


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  1. hey listen

    smoking is "banned" within the barnard gates already. guess how well that works out.

    pat yourselves on the back for doing nothing, non-smokers! you are expecting a no-smoking policy to be enforced by a security staff that I always see lighting up. i think the tightness of your underwear is cutting off the flow to your brain.

    (cue awesome "but cigarette smoke is actually cutting off blood flow in YOUR body snarf snarf snarf" joke. Non-smokers are about as humorless as the devoutly religious and half the fun)

    • hmmm  

      Clearly we non-smokers are not as angry as you, a smoker, however. Why don't you go light up and calm yourself.

      • that's probably

        because you guys aren't the ones getting fingerfucked.

        • Perhaps not,  

          But my lungs are every time I walk past Butler. Look, its not like smoking is the end-all of your life, though possibly the end of it. This is not an argument about personal freedoms, because the more dangerous secondhand cigarette smoke goes into the lungs of anyone walking by, thereby harming smokers and non-smokers alike. I do not think banning smoking on campus is ridiculous at all. Perhaps arrangements can be made for smokers, like a particular ventilated room in Butler, to accommodate them. But for the time being, their habit is hurting other people too, so something needs to be done.

  2. I tried

    to give feedback and it kept telling me my feedback was in an invalid format. Pah. Shows how much they really care what people think

  3. Banning?  

    Who cares. It's the enforcing we need.

    I'm a n-s and even I think its a bit extreme to ban it throughout campus. Furthermore it just won't be enforced.

    Even now it's prohibited in proximity of building and we still cant exit Butler at night without getting a faceful of toxin from congealing hipsters.

    I'd just be happy if they enforced that around the most populated building on campus.

    Move it 20 feet to the right, assholes.

  4. well  

    i only smoke the herb, not cigarettes, but this is ridiculous.

  5. whoot  

    it'd be easier to enforce when we don't have to count 50 feet away from the buildings

  6. please

    PLEASE ban smoking on the campus. its for our own good.

  7. yay  


    Just quit smoking already.

  8. hookah  

    will this include hookah?

  9. ...  

    how this goes down:

    1) smoking is banned

    2) ashtrays are removed

    3) smoking declines temporarily

    4) smoking returns back in full force

    5) butts are thrown on the ground in lieu of now removed ashtrays

    6) more maintenance people are hired to sweep them up.

    7) money that could be spent on useful things goes to waste.

    if they want to start a program to get phillip morris' hooks off our nuts, they need to expand their existing quit support program to include a physical activity component.

  10. good!  

    Smoking is really obnoxious. I hate it when i get stuck behind some douchebag who's walking ridiculously slowly and smoking, so I get a few extra whiffs of her cancerstick.

  11. LoveAtCU  

    Laima Tazmin is trying 2 ban smoking on campus while making LoveAtCU. Don't trust this biatch.

  12. Anonymous  

    The 116th st gates will just be that much better of a photo-op with 40 smokers huddled in front of it.

    • wow  

      OR people could realize how stupid they are by wasting their money, health, and time (as well as other people's health) and quit.

      • wowow  

        OR you could stop dictating behavior simply because you think it's offensive or unpleasant. When's the last time a smoker came up to you and told you all the great reasons why you should start?

        All of these morality causes from so-called progressives are sickening - and I'm a non-smoker and a Democrat.

  13. war on cancer  

    strikes again

  14. kjkjej

    the stupid "anonymous form" doesn't work - Columbia clearly doesn't care what people actually think and only puts up its stupid little survey monkey links to make people think that the university is listening.

  15. bush  

    It's the bitch-slap style - those in charge propose a solution that is completely an excessive and would never by feasible, the minority proposes a compromise to the untenable position which sacrifices some current rights but requires no concessions from the majority. The majority accepts the compromise which would have been impossible at the start and the minority willingly loses a few rights with nothing in return.

    My counter-proposal is to force everyone to smoke at least a pack a week or face a monetary penalty.

  16. just  

    go up to a smoking hipster and cough in his/her face whenever they blow a cloud of smoke. i do this frequently and always love the response i get.

  17. smoking  

    sucks. the University should really ban this disgusting and sickening behavior that happens all to frequently on our campus. i really can't stand it. if people want to smoke, they should do so only in the privacy of their (non-Columbia) homes and out of our breathing space.

  18. too  

    sorry, I meant *too. i know how to spell, i swear.

  19. smoking is intrusive  

    unlike other behaviors

    its gross

  20. and also  

    the comments form doesn't work on their site for me either

  21. whatever  

    columbia will do things and enforce things. and then you graduate. and then columbia will not force you to do things (unless its donating).

  22. hallelujah

    i hate walking front of butler because the fucking smokers

    • yea

      or walking into or out of any other building for that matter.

      and the problem with smoking is that it directly affects other people. its fine as long as u do it somewhere private and not contaminate everyone else's airspace.

      i dont care if ppl are fat/use sunscreen or not as long as u dont bother other ppl. those are completely unrelated so be quiet #29

  23. ehh  

    I'm a nonsmoker but I don't really mind it being legal on campus. I mean, I'd prefer to limit my exposure to smoke in general, but I don't really think banning on campus is necessary.

  24. Dear University

    please do better things with your time

  25. can smokers please god  

    use the damned ash trays? why does campus have to be so littered with your used butts. if you guys would use the ash trays, I wouldn't give a damn... but you don't, so smoke somewhere else.

  26. all the world's a stage  

    especially for smokers.

  27. All

    This means is that all the gates would be surrounded by groups of smokers. Instead of walking through a tunnel of smokers to get into Butler, you;ll have to do it to get through the Carman/JJ gates

  28. ...  

    I am a non-smoker, but I think this is ridiculous.

  29. actually,  

    in response to someone up there, i think fat people DO bother others. you buy a 600 dollar plane ticket to get a seat for yourself on a plane, and when you get to it only to realize that 1/2 of your seat is taken up by someone's fat oozing onto your seat. or, you get on the subway after walking around all day and there is technically an empty seat, but oh wait...that fatty takes up to. we can ban smoking on campus, but we should also make fat people pay twice as much for certain things. deal?

  30. and by  

    to, i meant two...sorry, i'm hungover.

  31. i hate  

    people smoking on campus. it really should be banned asap.

  32. 0011  

    Smokers have no excuse for throwing cigarette butts all over the floor, and today people lit up during Baccahanal sitting in a crowd. So, if you're expecting any sympathy from non-smokers, forget about it.

    • true...  

      smokers are a minority these days. and if we want consideration from the minority, so we can keep our right to smoke in public (and we do), we oughtta be more considerate with where our clouds and our butts go.

  33. chimney  

    As a smoker, I'll concur with the other comments--we'll smoke anyway.

    Also: if anyone coughs in my face, I'll burn their fucking eyelashes off with a stub.

  34. Anonymous

    For all of you smokers out there, you're all freaking ridiculous. In twenty years you'll all be breathing on a respirator in a Truth commercial. So stop smoking now while you have the chance. You jackasses are some of the smartest people in the country. Shame...

  35. I've had it

    I'm so damn happy that this is going to happen. If I still see smokers trying to stink up the front of Butler and other dorms and have to force people coming in and out to take in the smoke, I'm going to take a baseball bat to their faces.

    You want to be effed up? I'll show you how bad you'll look in the short term.


  36. Bull shit

    What about cars? Automobiles release far more pollution and toxin into the air than smokers and in NY probably do far more to harm your health on campus (and in your rooms) than smokers.

    It's revealing how most support for this plan features rhetoric about smokers supposedly being hipsters. Culture war!

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