Police Won’t Enforce Smoking Ban
September 22, 2011
By Briana McDonald
Bridgewater State University Police will not enforce a new, campus-wide smoking ban, according to Chief David Tillinghast.
“Any infringements will be handled (by) employees,” Tillinghast said. “We’re not anticipating getting involved unless a supervisor has an issue and contacts us.”
The new rules went into effect Sept 1. Already smokers have been complaining about the ban being an infringement of their personal rights. Meanwhile, some students have been seen openly violating the new rules and smoking in outdoor areas on campus. Other students were confused about what was and was not considered on campus for purposes of the ban.
“What exactly is on-campus, and what’s off?” said freshman Kassaundra Przelomski. “I’m still walking behind smokers. If they want no smoking, they need to make the rule stronger.”
Louis Ricciardi, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, said the ban is part of an ongoing effort to promote healthier living among students, faculty and staff members.
“I understand it’s a legal right to smoke, but not anywhere you want. It’s a free society, but your decision shouldn’t interfere with someone else’s right to breathe clean air,”
Ricciardi said. “We run campus, and the policy is set.” Ricciardi acknowledged that no firm rules for enforcing the policy had been put into place. “Like any policy, it’s effective based on people respecting their fellow students and the policy,” he said.
Although the rule was made with the health of BSU students and faculty in mind, recent studies have suggested that the relationship between smoking and heart failure isn’t as direct as it may appear to be. A medical study reported the Journal of Community Health shows that six US states that have recently enforced public smoking bans show no change in the heart attack rate.
“It is entirely within the University’s rights to the make this rule, and I am not questioning their authority, but I find this ban to be a bit heavy-handed, and it raises some ethical questions,” said Dr. Aeon Skoble, a professor in the philosophy department. “If going outside to smoke has never stopped smokers, why will going across the street?”
Students shared similar concerns.
“In winter, I’ll have to go outside specifically to smoke,” said Megan Allen, a freshman. “It’s frustrating, because I’ll have cravings on long walks from one side of campus to the other. I’m 18, I can buy cigarettes, but not smoke them? It doesn’t make sense.”
Other students, however, are eager for the ban to kick in.
“I don’t like walking through the smoke,” said Ashley Rose.
“I’d be all for the ban, if they can enforce it,” added Joe Mitchell.
Smokers, however, felt the ban was heavy-handed.
“It’s annoying,” agrees smoker Dominic Switzer. “Having designated smoking areas would make more sense. It’s a public school and a personal choice. It’s not illegal to smoke, so why can’t I?”
Despite being a non-smoker himself, Jason Kimball agrees. “I don’t know why they didn’t ask the students, who are paying to go here. If they asked and students weren’t bothered with people smoking outside, they wouldn’t have had to create this ban,” he said.
Acute Myocardial Infarction Mortality Before and After State-wide Smoking Bans
Brad Rodu, Nicholas Peiper and Philip Cole
Rapid declines in hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) following smoke-free ordinances have been reported in smaller communities. The AMI mortality rate among persons age 45 + years (deaths per 100,000 persons, age-standardized to the 2000 US population) in the 3 years before adoption of the smoke-free ordinance (the expected rate) was compared with the rate observed in the first full year after the ban (the target year) in six US states.
Target-year declines were also compared to those in states without smoking bans. Target-year declines in AMI mortality in California (2.0%), Utah (7.7%) and Delaware (8.1%) were not significantly different from the expected declines (P = 0.16, 0.43 and 0.89, respectively). In South Dakota AMI mortality increased 8.9% in the target year (P = 0.007). Both a 9% decline in Florida and a 12% decline in New York in the 2004 target year exceeded the expected declines (P = 0.04 and P