College Campuses Move Toward Total Smoking Bans

Friday, June 29, 2012

As a political science major at Ohio State University, Ida Seitter says, she lit up many a cigarette to help her through the stress of exam season. Right or wrong, they were her security blanket as she toiled through college.

Seitter, now 26, was old enough by then to make her own decisions, she says. She opposes efforts by policymakers in Ohio, New York, California and other states to impose bans on tobacco use not just in buildings at public colleges, but also anywhere on the campus -- even in the open air.

"Just back away from me a little bit. I won't blow it in your face and I'll try not to be rude," Seitter says. "At the same time, I think it's a little discriminatory for a practice that is considered legal."

Bans on use, advertising and sales of tobacco in all its forms are being enacted or considered at perhaps half of campuses nationwide, sometimes over the objections of student smokers, staff and faculty. The movement is driven by mounting evidence of the health risks of secondhand smoke, the reduced costs of smoke-free dorms and a drive to minimize enticements to smoke at a critical age for forming lifelong habits.

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