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Classic Signals: College cracks down on smoking

By Emmy Liederman
Features Editor 

In October of 1993, the College established a smoking policy that was considered strict for its time. The policy banned smoking throughout campus except for designated areas and dorm rooms, given that the residents had had their roommate’s permission to smoke and that the door was closed. Many students were angered by the news — Dae Rebeck, a non-smoker, told The Signal she thought it was “…an outrage. Smokers pay so much money to be here, and if they can’t smoke, it is a violation of their rights. Next they’ll be running around bagging methane gas out of my ass.”

Smoking policies remain a contested issue on campus. (Photo Courtesy of TCNJ Digital Archive)

In the last decade, cigarettes have been stigmatized and widely replaced with electronic smoking devices. These devices are growing in popularity, which raises the question of whether the administration will crack down on these devices like it did with cigarettes in 1993.

A new smoking policy, to take effect Oct. 16, bans smoking all over campus except in residence hall rooms and designated outside areas, according to a letter from Associate Vice President of Facilities Management and Planning Greg Bressler to the Committee on Quality of Campus Life.

According to state regulations, indoor smoking areas can be created in areas that are physically separated from areas the public uses or passes through. Bressler’s letter, however, says Trenton State has no such areas.

The state regulations cited are listed under Subchapter 11, “Indoor Air Quality Standards and Procedures for Buildings Occupied by Public Employees,” under the State Uniform Construction Code Act and the Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Act. Copies of these regulations are available through the Office of Campus Safety.

“No smoking” signs will be put up in the main entrances and foyers of all campus buildings. Once they are up, “the College will officially be declared a smoke-free institution,” according to the letter. Smoking will also be forbidden in state-owned vehicles.

Designated smoking areas will be established outside, away from building entrances. The letter states that “all members of the College community are responsible for achieving and maintaining a smoke-free environment.”

Faculty and other personnel will be held responsible for those they supervise that violate the policy. The Human Resources department will be consulted for recommendations of disciplinary action to be taken against any students. A visiting smoker in violation of the policy will be informed of the new regulations by a representative of the office of Campus Safety. According to the letter, “if compliance is not immediately obtained, the Campus Police shall escort the visitor off the premises.” Section seven of the smoke free campus policy dictates that “staff members, faculty, students, and volunteers who violate this policy are subject to appropriate disciplinary action and possible fines, as assessed by the Department of Labor in accordance with the Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Act.”

“I think it’s kind of harsh,” Missy Foley, a sophomore English education major, said. “I don’t smoke, but I feel kind of bad for those that are addicted and have to run back to the room every five minutes.”

Her roommate, Dae Rebeck, also a non-smoker, agreed. “It’s an outrage. Smokers pay so much money to be here, and if they can’t smoke, it is a violation of their rights. Next they’ll be running around bagging methane gas out of my ass.”

Jim Romaine, a senior psychology major, believes the regulations are a good idea. “I don’t smoke, so it’s better for me,” he said. “If I’m in a room that’s smoky, I get headaches. I guess that makes it good for me.”

Jasiri Miller, a junior education major and a smoker, feels that smokers should have respect for non-smokers and should only smoke in designated smoking areas. “But it seems a little unfair to commuters that don’t have anywhere to smoke on campus,” she said. “It’s like we’re back in high school smoking in the bathrooms again.”


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