Holy Smokes! Barnard Campus To Be Smoke Free

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In an email sent to students this afternoon, Chief Operating Officer Greg Brown announced that “Barnard College will be a smoke-free campus effective March 21, 2011, after we return from spring break.” The change, he writes, “is the result of regular requests from various members of the College community to complete a process we started in 2004 when we first limited outdoor smoking on campus.” Ashtray friendships be gone!

Some context from an October 2009 B&W article on the smoking ban: “Smoking is already prohibited at the medical center, Union Theological Seminary, Jewish Theological Seminary, and Barnard, which successfully established a similar ban in Spring 2007. Barnard, however, created two designated smoking areas on campus in response to student concerns about safety. According to Katie Palillo, [former] Barnard Student Government Association President, “Student government and a number of individuals came forth and said that not being able to smoke on their campus was inconvenient and frankly not safe if they had to go out at midnight and stand outside of our gates to smoke.” Palillo doesn’t think the Barnard ban is a significant inconvenience mostly because so few Barnard students are habitual smokers. Even so, she admits that the ban is difficult to enforce.”

Full email after the jump.

I am very pleased to announce that Barnard College will be a smoke-free campus effective March 21, 2011, after we return from spring break. The decision to proceed from our current policy, where smoking is permitted in two designated outdoor spaces, to an entirely smoke-free environment is the result of regular requests from various members of the College community to complete a process we started in 2004 when we first limited outdoor smoking on campus. Results of an SGA survey conducted this fall show that an overwhelming majority of students polled agree that proceeding with a full ban is the right thing for Barnard to do.To read the full text of the College’s official smoking policy, visit

The move is also part of a national trend on college campuses that has gained momentum over the past few years. The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF) reports that 466 campuses have banned smoking to date.  Most recently, City University of New York (CUNY), the largest urban higher-education system in the country, voted to forbid smoking on all 23 of its campuses.

In addition, going smoke-free is aligned with Mayor Bloomberg’s push for a healthier New York City. According to a January 2, 2011 count from the ANRF, New York City is one of 922 smoke-free municipalities in the U.S. and one of nearly 450 that is 100% smoke-free in workplaces, restaurants, and freestanding bars. And as you’ve likely read, a new law passed by the City Council just weeks ago bans smoking at city parks and beaches.

In basic health terms, while the risks of smoking have long been known, studies on the impact of secondhand smoke also cannot be ignored. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Findings in a 2009 CDC report indicate that there is about a 25 to 30 percent increase in the risk of coronary heart disease from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Still, we understand that for smokers this change is less than ideal. We hope that those in our community who smoke will take advantage of Barnard’s smoking cessation resources. Students can go to Barnard Primary Care Health Service or ASAP (Alcohol and Substance Awareness Program) for information and assistance. Primary Care’s smoking cessation page can be found Faculty and staff who are interested in smoking cessation programs may obtain information from Human Resources. The HR office, located at 7 and 8 Milbank, has information on how to quit smoking and will be offering cessation aids such as chewing gums and lollipops. More details can be found at: In addition, residents of New York State can access services available through the New York State Quitline at 1-866-697-8487.

The success of this policy depends on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of smokers and non-smokers alike, and it is the responsibility of all members of the Barnard community to comply. For those smokers who plan to go outside the campus perimeter for a cigarette, we ask that you remain mindful of your proximity to office and dormitory windows, and to those passing by.

Greg Brown
Chief Operating Officer

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  1. Anonymous  

    Where will all the smoking hipster Barnard girls go?

    But more seriously, how is this enforceable?

    • They will  

      chain you to the front gates and beat you mercilessly about the head until you put out your cigarette, thus making an effective deterrent out of their duty to kick the shit out of everyone who smokes.

    • I would guess  

      The same way that rules against drinking, weed, etc. are enforced. Public safety's just gonna be a lot busier (or whatever Barnard's analogous faux-cops are called).

  2. Easily enforceable  

    If you see a chick smoking on Barnard's campus, give her a good hard spanking.

  3. Anonymous

    Can we please have this at Columbia already?

  4. bc'11  

    FINALLY! I HATE smokers, especially when they walk and smoke. Can you not see everyone behind you that is breathing in your cancerous smoke?!?!?!

  5. Evil thought

    Any student "convicted" (is that the right word?) of smoking on campus will be subject to an increased Health Services Fee.

  6. Anonymous  

    Smokers don't tell you how to live your lives. 'Oh, you had unprotected sex with a stranger last week? You know that's potentially not awesome for your health'... etc. Don't tell me to quit smoking - it's none of your damn business. And yes, I am aware of secondhand smoke (as is the rest of the world) but I will smoke my cigarette OUTSIDE if I want to. The same way that every single taxi driving down Broadway gets to drive and emit pollutants into the world. This is New York City, deal with it.

    • anonymous  

      this isn't about you "living your life," you American freedom-fighter, you. this is about the dangerous health effects you have on everyone around you. your rights only go as far as not impinging on others. It's NYC, deal with it.

  7. Anonymous

    I don't mind the smoke so much, but at least have the courtesy to throw your butts in the garbage and not on the ground. I think the parks and beaches law should've been the first enacted--I hate seeing all that garbage polluting our environment.

  8. BC '11  

    I'm pretty sure second hand smoke is not deathly when you're outside.

  9. yes  

    Columbia needs to have this also! I hate being assaulted with secondhand smoke every time I leave Hamilton or walk past Avery.

  10. everybody

    calm the hell down. have you actually ever met anyone that has had any health trouble from second hand smoke? i am not a smoker, but what's the damn problem let people smoke if they want to

    • Anonymous  

      Actually, yeah I actually know people who got lung cancer from secondhand smoke. And according to the Surgeon General over 3000 people die each year of secondhand smoke. Please put your education to use.

  11. Van Owen

    I thought only hipsters and foreign students smoked. If you Barnard girls are looking for something to satiate your oral fixation...holla.

  12. CSI

    Looks like smoking's banned. No ifs, ands, or...
    *puts on shades*

  13. Anonymous  

    We cant tell you not to smoke and if you want to risk your health thats your business I totally agree. BUT I do not think you should be allowed to risk my health and life with second hand smoke. Its really annoying when you walk by places like Butler for example and are unexpectedly hit in the face by a wall of cigarette smoke.

  14. .To Enforce:  

    Assemble a Strong, Beautiful Barnard Wrestling Team to descend en masse upon anyone seen smoking.

  15. When

    Columbia bans it, good luck avoiding even more second hand smoke anywhere along Broadway or Amsterdam. Great Policy, push all smokers from smoking friendly open spaces on campus, to highly congested sidewalks, where the problem is already bad, but is going to make it much worse. I'm not a smoker, but I support their rights, do you realize the revenue they generate for so many great programs when they buy $13 packs of cigarettes?

  16. Anonymous  

    There were no smokes on campus before this...

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