A Breath of Fresh Air

By Gregory Castro.

Lehman prepares for the implementation of the new CUNY-wide smoking policy that will ban smoking in campus grounds.

Media Credit: http://roszab.wordpress.com/2010/09/

Effective September of 2012, all CUNY schools will become smoke-free, making CUNY “the largest smoke-free public university system in the United States.”  Students, faculty and staff will be required to step out school grounds in order to smoke.

Cindy Kreisberg, the Director of the Lehman College Student Health Center, said that there will be no smoking “within campus gates or fences.”

Kreisberg finds the smoke ban to be beneficial for all CUNY students because secondhand smoke would not affect non-smokers and the campuses themselves would be cleaner and debris-free. Lehman College is expected to begin implementing the new policy on July 2, 2012.

In previous attempts to cut down smoking on school grounds, CUNY Lehman College designated specific smoking areas 20 feet from school entrances.

Surprisingly, not all the non-smokers – for which the smoking policy was created –– are both unaware of the policy’s 2012 implementation and sometimes bothered by the idea of completely banning smoking on school grounds.

Takasha Weeks, a second semester transfer student, feels that the policy “violates some of the student’s rights,” and that there are better approaches to the problem.

Jazzmin Lewis, a lower sophomore at CUNY Bronx Community College, expressed mixed emotions about the new tobacco policy. According to her, the air pollution does not confine to one space and the policy will not stop the pollution. “The policy will be responsible for an increase in lateness and poor attendance,” Lewis said.

Allison Dillon, a junior at Lehman and a smoker, has a similar reaction to the new policy and believes “it is not going to stop smokers from smoking.”

A postcard campaign that reads “A BREATH OF FRESH AIR: LEHMAN COLLEGE TOBACCO FREE JULY 2012” will be used to introduce the new tobacco policy. Canvas signs will be placed on all school entrances so anyone walking on campus will be aware of the new tobacco policy.

The Health Center held a kick-off event on February 28. Surveys, questionnaires, and special guests were used to inform students of the new policy, its implementation and benefits.

Smokers were provided with key resources and counseling on campus. In the initial stages of the policy, online resources are also available with information.

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