Vassar College has gone smoke-free, sending its nicotine junkies off-campus to get their daily fix. It’s the first Hudson Valley campus to enforce a ban on tobacco products (to take effect July 1), but SUNY campuses are headed in the same direction. The Chancellor of the State University of New York is pushing for every SUNY campus to become smoke-free. SUNY New Paltz president Donald Christian, however, is skeptical about the ban’s practical applications. He told the New Paltz Oracle, “There are some campuses that have declared themselves smoke-free, but when you ask them how they are enforcing it, they throw their hands up in the air.” New Paltz’s current policy prohibits smoking in all campus buildings, SUNY-owned vehicles, and smokers must keep 50 feet from building entrances and windows when lighting up their tobacco product of choice (as someone that has experienced the campus during school sessions firsthand, this latter aspect of the policy is practiced negligibly—bringing into question the possible effectiveness of an outright ban on smoking). Other local campuses (Marist, Bard, Mt. St. Mary) have similar smoking polices as New Paltz, with varying required distances between smokers and building orifices that are likely followed as closely as they are in New Paltz. As for the effectiveness of Vassar’s smoking ban, we will have to wait until the students return to accurately assess it.
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