Recent 30-foot radius chalked no-smoking circles have prompted many to consider the basis for UR’s smoking policy. Although not smoking within 30 feet of a building is a New York state law, UR’s method of enforcement and unwillingness to think of the needs of smokers leaves much to be desired.
Currently, despite temporary no-smoking circles, very few pay attention to this law. The purpose of the law was to prevent the dangers of secondhand smoking from affecting passersby as they enter a building.
However, without a clear enforcement agent for moving the smokers outside of the 30-foot range, the law will continue to be ineffective.
It should be the responsibility of student aids, UR security and Residential Advisors to enforce the law. They should encourage any violating smokers to move out of the 30-foot radius and only if the smokers refuse should disciplinary actions occur.
The fact that members of the UR community will be responsible for enforcing the no-smoking circle will provide a significant incentive to follow the law.
The no-smoking circle is a good compromise between smokers and non-smokers but unfortunately, mixed with UR’s policy, forces smokers to shiver in the winter cold.
Currently, UR’s only remedy for this situation is to point to University Health Services as a source of information for quitting smoking. More of these programs should be encouraged, but alternatives that handle the reality of smoking must also be available.
UR has considered smoker dorms but has found them to be too high of a fire hazard. However, a way around this is to find under-used rooms in each dorm and turn them into smokers’ lounges.
These rooms should have sufficient ventilation to prevent the smoke from spilling out into adjacent hallways. The rooms should be keycard access only and smokers who wish to enjoy the luxury of smoking inside should pay a fee to be given access. The fees will provide for the upkeep of the room and any smoking related damages that occur.