AU snuffs smokers and sales

Smoking banned in / by dorms, sales stopped

Students taking a cigarette break will have to walk a little farther before they light up this year.

The steps and walkways around the front doors of the residence halls are now designated smoke-free areas, which is just one of a handful of new procedures that AU is implementing in an attempt to promote a healthier campus.

Sizes of nonsmoking zones around the residence halls vary, as each hall has a different entrance area, Executive Director of Housing and Dining Programs Julie Weber said. Generally, smoke-free areas include the steps and sidewalk immediately surrounding the entrance to the halls and are currently designated by temporary signs.

"It's beneficial for people who have to go in and out of the building, because second hand smoke is a health hazard," Health Educator Kathy Haldeman said, who also believes that the smoke-free areas will create a healthier work environment for desk receptionists within the residence halls as well as affect how many students smoke on campus.

"People smoke because they see gatherings of people outside of buildings or in an isolated place, and it looks like a larger crowd than it is," Haldeman said, "If everyone is smoking, people may be more likely to smoke."

The nonsmoking zones will be enforced informally during the first semester, Weber said, as a way to allow students to adjust to the change. Second semester, a student violating the nonsmoking zone may be referred to judicial affairs at a Resident Director's discretion, Weber said.

"We want to be gentle with people," Weber said regarding the regulation of the nonsmoking outside areas, "it's more educational that punitive."

Designating smoke-free areas outside of buildings are only one component of an attempt to make AU a healthier community, which AU President Benjamin Ladner outlined in his last point of his 15-Point Plan. The plan was released by Ladner two years ago to provide a vision of the future of AU.

Other steps taken this year include designating all residence halls smoke-free and stopping the sales of cigarettes in the Eagle's Nest, AU's on-campus convenience store.

Some students aren't enthusiastic about the smoking restrictions, however.

"It's fine that they don't allows us to smoke inside, it smells, but it's horrible to say that you can't smoke outside," smoker Kristen Giancaterino said, a sophomore in CAS.

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