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Many students fuming over smoking on campus
For many Quinnipiac students, the beauty of Sleeping Giant State Park is often masked by clouds of second-hand cigarette smoke.
An observer standing outside the Lender School of Business, the Arnold Bernhard Library, the Carl Hansen Student Center or countless other places on campus can almost always spot someone smoking a cigarette.
“I usually hold my breath when I walk out of the student center because I know there’s usually four or five kids smoking outside,” said sophomore athletic training major Nick Keough.
In addition to discomforting some non-smokers, second-hand cigarette smoke poses a substantial health threat to those in close proximity to cigarette smoke.
The Surgeon General’s Office labels second-hand smoke as a threat because of its carcinogenic nature and the chemicals it contains.
According to the Surgeon General’s Office, second-hand smoke is more dangerous to those in the immediate proximity to smokers than to the smokers themselves. Non-smokers who are exposed to smoke in the home or office are more likely to develop lung cancer and heart disease.
No level of second-hand smoke is considered safe.
“There’s no safe level of exposure,” said Kathryn Shuttleworth, a Health Program Associate with the Connecticut Department of Public Health who fields questions about second-hand smoke.
Shuttleworth emphasizes that smoking outside does not lessen the danger of second-hand smoke. “Second-hand smoke is still dangerous even if it’s outside,” she said.
Shuttleworth said the best solution is simply to convince people to quit smoking. She emphasized the importance of raising awareness about the dangers of second-hand smoke.
“I do believe that more people are at least concerned about it,” she said.
Likewise, Shuttleworth said it is vital to prevent smokers from smoking near non-smokers. For this reason, Quinnipiac prohibits smoking in any building, and within a 20-foot radius of residence halls.
Adam Murphy, a resident assistant for Troup residence hall, said that resident assistants on-duty prohibit smoking within 20 feet of residence halls.
“It’s just for the health and safety of everyone who doesn’t want to smoke and everyone who doesn’t want to be around smoke,” he said.
Murphy said Residential Life implemented such rules because of a concern for the residents who pass through the buildings and for the residents who have their windows open. Rules about smoking near the residence halls are not as strictly enforced during inclement weather.
Smokers in the suites and complex area generally comply with resident assistant’s wishes.
“They’re usually pretty considerate,” Murphy said.
However, resident assistants are not on duty until 6:45 p.m., thus enforcement of this rule is limited by this time constraint.
Craig Gannon, a freshman communications major, smokes and was not aware of the existence of rules prohibiting smoking near residence halls.
“I think that the freedom is there. I don’t think the rules are stressed upon,” he said.
Richard Meaney, a junior interactive digital design major, is a smoker. He understands that other students do not want to expose themselves to cigarette smoke indoors.
“As per smoking in the dorms, I could see why people get upset,” he said.
However, he defends the freedom of smoking outside.
“Outdoors, there’s just no general rule,” Meaney said.
Sharon Ng, a sophomore psychology major, finds the presence of cigarette smoke around campus displeasing.
“Suddenly, I feel like I can’t breathe and we all know that second-hand smoke is just as deadly,” she said.
Ng is also a member of the Residence Hall Council and said that the presence of smoking around residence halls is often a subject of concern during meetings.
“It’s just unpleasant walking into a cloud of smoke,” she said.