Lighting up a cigarette in a restaurant, bar, office, or an airplane is a rapidly fading memoryñsomething our generation now only recognizes through movies and television shows like ìMad Men.î Today, 30 of the nationís 50 most populated cities, including New York City, have a ban on smoking in any indoor spaces aside from private residences, with hundreds of more cities passing laws regulating smoking in public parks and beaches. College campuses are no exception.
In February, The New School announced in an e-mail to students that it would begin to enforce a smoking ban in the Vera List courtyard of the Eugene Lang building. Citing New York Cityís Smoke Free Air Act that has been in effect since 2003, the e-mail asked students to ìrefrain from smoking in the courtyard,î claiming, ìThe university has a legal obligation to protect everyone in the community from the well documented adverse effects of exposure to secondhand smoke.î Though, with no outline for enforcement given, the ban has been met with general dismissal by student smokers.
Given that the universityís method of relaying this information to the student body has been through a few posters and two school-wide emails thus far, it is no surprise that many students remain unaware of the new ban, or have simply chosen to ignore it. Though, it would stand to reason that mere respect for the faculty and staff, who have been the driving force behind this undeniably weak anti-smoking effort, would be enough to dissuade students from continuing to smoke in the courtyard, this is clearly not the case.
Of course, the administration retains the right to simply ban smoking on its property, but if there is genuine concern for the health of faculty, administrators, and staff, it should be made perfectly clear through action. Several school-wide announcements should be given, teachers should bring it up in classñ there should be no way a student smoker could be unaware that a smoking ban is in effect and why. And then, if there is still obvious disregard, citations should be given. If this pastime is seriously affecting such vital members of the university, there should be no hesitation regarding strict enforcement.