PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The Centers for Disease Control reports that since 1964, over two million nonsmokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.
To further cut down a person’s risk to secondhand smoke, colleges and universities have been banning smoking on campuses altogether. More than two thousand colleges and universities have instituted such a ban, including dozens right here in the Delaware Valley.
Another handful of campuses are looking to increase their smoking restrictions on campus. But, how well the bans are being received may depend on location. The larger, urban schools that serve as community centers with hospitals versus smaller, suburban more isolated campuses.
“The environment is better.”
No clouds of secondhand smoke.
Namid Damala says, “That is the most dangerous part.”
No messy cigarette butts. The campuses of Delaware County Community College are completely tobacco free.
“I have asthma. I don’t like cigarette smoke, so that’s good,” says Anthony Montgomery
Freshman Elijah Dreuitt states, “It’s pleasant. You can sit outside and enjoy the weather and stuff.”
There’s been no smoking at DCCC since 2013.
“This was a student-driven initiative,” says Craig Fitz.
Administrators admit it took a minute to catch on…citing faculty and staff among the greatest violators at first.
Spokesperson for DCCC, Daniel Kanak, had this to say, “There were a number of instances where people were in violation a lot in the first year.”
You can’t claim you weren’t warned. Signs at every entrance onto campus, signs as people enter every building – it’s right there.
“We offer gentle reminders that we are smoke free and tobacco free on-campus,” Kanak says.
The second reminder comes with a 15 dollar fine. The third time is a 25 dollar fine.
Kanak says, “Last fiscal year there were only about 40 or so instances of when that occurred.”
After that, a disciplinary action is invoked. But, nobody’s gone that far, yet.
Spokesperson Daniel Kanak says their surveys show their numbers of smokers declining. They do more than punish smokers.
“Offer cessation programs to help is they want to stop smoking.”
“I like the idea of not walking on campus and getting hit with smoke but I feel like people who do smoke probably need it,” says Isaac Goad.
Smokers’ rights versus non-smokers health is being considered right now by Temple University. Currently, smoking is banned about 20 feet from building entrances.
But, its sprawling main campus is smack in the middle of a north Philadelphia neighborhood. Students like the idea, but, according to second year law student Lee Begelman, “I don’t know how you would enforce it and there should be other problems that we can focus on.”
Senior Amanda Labriola says, “It’ll definitely be a deterrent because you’ll have to walk pretty far between classes to get a smoke break so maybe they’ll break the habit that way.”
Temple administrators say how to implement a smoking ban and how to enforce it are just two areas being considered by a taskforce set up last spring.
Delaware County Community College administrators added that they are limited in how much they can enforce a complete smoking ban at campuses where they don’t own the property.