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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Dorms Are Smoke Free, But Policy Still Has Some Kinks

    A policy went into effect on July 1 that has banned smoking in all residence halls, according to the official Residence Hall Smoking Policy seen on the SUNY website. The policy prohibits smoking in all SUNY residence halls, apartment buildings, and any vehicles owned, operated, or leased by the University or SUNY system.

    However, several inconsistencies still remain in the fine print of the new smoking policy with respect to local Suffolk County building codes as well as the previous regulations on smoking on SUNY campuses.

    On the east side of campus, or the hospital side, smokers must be 50 feet away from a building to comply with a Suffolk county law that prohibits smoking within 50 feet of county buildings and hospitals.

    On the west side of campus, many buildings are still using the 15-feet-away policy, while residence halls have implemented a 20-feet-away policy after July 1.

    There has been speculation about the inconsistency of the smoke-free policies, primarily among the Campus Environment Committee. There have also been talks of updating these policies to make one standard for how far a person must be from a building in order to smoke.

    Douglas Little, assistant chief of police at Stony Brook, said that a committee met about three weeks ago to discuss a possible single standard for the ban, and he also said there were discussions about how the policy will be enforced.

    “Ninety-nine percent of the people are good people and they’re going to abide by the rules,” Little said, adding that the other 1 percent that may not abide by the new policy will be referred to Student Affairs, or Labor Relations if they are a faculty member.

    “We’re going to be diplomatic dictators,” Little added.

    The new policy in residence halls is an amendment to a smoke-free university policy that was approved in November 1997 at Stony Brook. The 1997 policy states that smoking is permitted in residence hall bedrooms and suites, as long as all residents in the bedroom or suite provide approval. The new policy prohibits smoking in all residence halls, even if residents approve of smoking.

    The Residence Hall Smoking Policy was originally proposed by former SUNY Chancellor John R. Ryan. At a June 2006 SUNY Board of Trustees meeting, Ryan stated that the implementation plan to prohibit smoking in residence halls is necessary not only because of a health risk, but also because of a safety risk.

    According to the Residence Hall Smoking Policy, the remainder of the campus is subject to the Clean Indoor Air Act. The act, according to NYS Department of Health website, was amended in 2003 and “prohibits smoking in virtually all workplaces, including restaurants and bars.”

    Although 91% of all dormitories at SUNY campuses were already smoke free, emphasis was placed on implementing a full smoking ban, according to the NYS Department of Health website, primarily because of the risks of secondhand smoke.

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