Speak Out: College Smoking Bans Spark Debate

Nationwide, more than 800 higher-learning institutions restrict tobacco use, including many nearby.


Add George Washington University to the list of metro-area campuses--including Montgomery College and the University of Maryland--to snuff out smoking on campus as part of a nationwide movement, despite an outcry by some students.

The GW campus was the scene of a smoke-in protest earlier this month after school officials decided to bar smoking from the DC campus, The Washington Post reported. Some GW students and faculty are blasting the decision, but school officials are unfazed.

"No matter how much science we have to back up what we're saying, there will always be individuals who see this as a restriction on their freedom," GW anti-smoking advocate Julien Guttman told The Post.

The school's efforts are the latest in a growing national movement that has drawn support from the White House, reported WJLA.

More than 800 campuses are smoke-free, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. Meanwhile, three states—Arkansas, Iowa and Oklahoma—require all their college and university campuses to be smoke-free, according to ANRF.

All institutions in the University of California system will ban use or sale of cigarettes and chewing tobacco by 2014, reported USA Today

Closer to home, Montgomery College’s three campuses—Rockville, Germantown, Silver Spring/Takoma Park—banned smoking in 2008. Towson University followed suit in 2009.

The University of Maryland approved a ban this summer that would take effect on all 12 of its campuses before the Fall 2013 semester, sparking protest from students and raising questions of how to enforce it, The Gazette reported.

Nine of Maryland's other higher-learning institutions bar smoking, according to ANRF:

  • Carroll Community College
  • Chesapeake College
  • Frostburg State University
  • Garrett College
  • Harford Community College
  • Howard Community College
  • Maryland Bible College and Seminary
  • Salisbury University
  • Washington Adventist University
Jenni Pompi November 27, 2012 at 02:43 PM
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with Mary's points?
Peggy Anne November 27, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I agree. Tobacco ruins the body, and makes people poor. Smoke drifts, clings to clothing, and people look silly smoking any way.Clean air is a god given right. Now, if they could also ban dirty air coming from car exhausts, the world would be a better place.
Gabriel November 27, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Completely agree!
Thomas Laprade November 28, 2012 at 07:23 AM
Smoke from a handful of crushed leaves and some paper that is mixed with the air of a decently ventilated venue is harmul to your health? If anybody believes that, then I have a bridge I would like to sell them For more info: http://tctactics.org
Michael J. McFadden November 28, 2012 at 02:04 PM
" "No matter how much science we have to back up what we're saying, there will always be individuals who see this as a restriction on their freedom," GW anti-smoking advocate Julien Guttman told The Post. " Really? Science eh? How about naming and defending even a SINGLE scientific study showing actual harm to people from the durations and concentrations involved in outdoor exposure to tobacco smoke on a typical campus? Can Julien do that? Can anyone here do that? I doubt it. I've looked -- a lot -- and there aren't any such studies. Even if you completely accept the findings of the EPA Report as factual, once you convert them to even a heavy college campus exposure (defined as walking through crowds of doorway smokers ten times a day every day) it works out to ONE extra case of lung cancer for every twenty-five MILLION student-years. Have any doubts about my claim? Do some research on your own. See if you can find and be willing to defend an available scientific study (Note: NOT a generalized report, a webpage, an article, an authoritative statement, a factsheet, etc etc -- a *study*!) showing any real harm from such exposures. I'll stop back to check. - MJM


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