If you want to smoke at Towson University, you can’t — the entire campus has been smokefree since Aug. 1.
That’s great news, detailed by The Washington Post today. The bad news is that other area campuses haven’t followed suit.
The reason Towson went smokefree is to protect the health of nonsmokers, university officials told the paper. (An aside: It’s really refreshing to read a Post story about this subject that doesn’t devote 80 to 90 percent of the text on moaning about the trampled rights of smokers, and almost exclusively quoting smokers who feel put upon by having to inconvenience themselves to feed their habit.)
Previous attempts to limit smoking to certain areas at Towson didn’t do the trick, the school found. Enforcing a 30-foot setback from buildings was difficult, and when it rained, students would stand closer to buildings. That likely meant that smoke was sucked into buildings when doors were opened, and students had to inhale secondhand smoke to get to class.
My favorite quote is from Jerry Dieringer, co-chair of a campus smokefree task force, explaining why half measures were rejected:
Either you are smokefree or you are not.
That pretty much says it.
Rules at other area schools vary and often include setbacks — the same setbacks that Towson has shown to be ineffective. A complete list of area universities’ smoking policies is here.
So how about it, American University, George Mason, George Washington University, Georgetown University and especially Johns Hopkins? When are you going smokefree?