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Institute Announces Campus-Wide Smoking Ban

November 30th, 2009
Soon to be seen all over the RPI campus

Soon to be seen all over the RPI campus

A campus-wide email was sent out this afternoon from William Walker, VP for Strategic Communications and External Relations regarding smoking.  Effective July 1, 2010, smoking will be prohibited on the Rensselaer campus.  Smokers will have to go to the sidewalk.  The message claimed that many people begin smoking at around age 19, so they are looking out for the best interest of the students.  We suspect that some of them are probably a little upset, but it’s the staff members that will really be affected.  I think it’s  a pretty good idea — smoking harms those around the smoker, so in order to provide a healthy school environment, smoking must be regulated.

The full text of the email is below.

To:    The Rensselaer Community
From:  William N. Walker, Vice President,
Strategic Communications and External Relations
Date:  November 30, 2009
Re:    Institute-Wide Smoking Policy

As we continue the commitment of the Institute to its development as an
increasingly health-conscious organization, effective July 1, 2010,
Rensselaer will join more than 360 U.S. colleges and universities as a
smoke-free institution.

It will be important for the members of the Rensselaer community to
support one another during this significant change in behavior and
habit. The Office of the Provost, the Division of Human Resources, and
the Division of Student Life will work together to develop a transition
plan to help promote the benefits of this change for all members of the
Rensselaer community.  They also will identify educational resources for
our faculty, staff, and students regarding the benefits of a smoke-free
institution, and will outline support services for those who may need
assistance.

Research by the American Cancer Society shows that a significant
percentage of college smokers begin to smoke regularly at or after age
19. We believe that by becoming a smoke-free institution, we will set an
example that will encourage the Rensselaer community to embrace a spirit
of healthy living, learning, and working.

Additional communications from the Office of the Provost and the
Divisions of Human Resources and Student Life will be forthcoming in the
near future.

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  1. Ryan
    December 1st, 2009 at 16:04 | #1

    Sound like a good idea, but how will they enforce the policy? Can Public Safety really tell people they can’t smoke?

  2. December 1st, 2009 at 18:36 | #2

    I started smoking in high school at age 16. I quit almost nine years ago, but I smoked for over 30 years. It is just a terrible addiction. My high school even had a smoking area for students!

  3. Chad
    December 1st, 2009 at 21:33 | #3

    For 50K a year, I’m not only smoking on campus, but am requesting an environmental services assistant to follow me around with a small streetsweeper

  4. JC Reardon
    December 3rd, 2009 at 14:28 | #4

    @Ryan
    Yes, Public Saftey CAN tell people not to smoke.
    However, DPS hasn’t and wont enforce the current policy (25 foot perimeter from buildings) and many officers don’t follow it themselves, so I don’t believe they will enforce the new policy either.

    @John Tedder
    I believe the Institute is working out programs for helping those with addictions, and generally making the trasition as painless as possible for everyone. Perhaps they are considering smoking areas; I do not know. But if you’ve tried to quit in the past, what better opportunity to try again, especially if the ‘tute is going to support you in that endeavor?

  5. December 3rd, 2009 at 19:45 | #5

    I quit 9 years ago, but thank you anyway. There are lots of different ways to quit today. Pick one and try it. You’ll be glad you quit.

  6. MadamRed
    December 7th, 2009 at 16:41 | #6

    As a person who grew up with secondhand smoke, I really appreciate this. I have a friend who has triggered asthma and she always has an attack when trying to enter stores, too. It can be frustrating when smokers don’t seem to care about non-smokers’ air.

  7. February 23rd, 2010 at 21:43 | #7

    At Boise State University we were proud to say that we are a non-smoking campus, but two semesters later we have been having a lot of problems. The smoke has become condensed and our beautiful campus next to the Boise river is getting contaminated by cigaret butts. The University got rid of all the trash cans and ashtrays near the University, so the smokers have been tossing their butts on the ground and in the river. Our campus was much cleaner before the smoking ban. Here is an article about it if you were interested to know what is happening on our campus.
    http://bit.ly/avX2ZI

  8. t
    August 11th, 2010 at 01:31 | #8

    “We believe that by becoming a smoke-free institution, we will set an
    example that will encourage the Rensselaer community to embrace a spirit
    of healthy living, learning, and working.”

    Students already rebel against, and loathe almost all new policies from RPI, especially policies that involve telling them what they can’t do.

    If anything, this measure will make smoking seem more rebellious and attractive, if for no other reason than to “get back at the man.”

    plus, it’s an addiction. students aren’t going to stop smoking because a public safety officer wags their finger at them while their on campus. They’ll smoke in their apartment, their frat, their car, off campus, and most won’t even stop smoking on campus. Maybe now they’ll start smoking in dorms too.

  9. E
    November 8th, 2010 at 20:20 | #9

    I was told today that I had to CROSS THE STREET when I went to smoke on the city sidewalk. I told the RN of Colonie where the incident took place that the sidewalk was city property. She ignored me. I’ve been covering zoning board meetings for years, and I had to bite my tongue, but should she ever say anything to me again regarding it, I will have to inform her that she should read the policy. I’m irked, I don’t toss my butts on the ground, and she was in the wrong.. crossing the street when it’s not necessary puts me in danger, particularly because of a visual disability that I have.

  1. December 16th, 2009 at 21:30 | #1