SUNY Trustees' new smoking ban won't affect Geneseo

The SUNY Board of Trustees recently placed a SUNY-wide ban on smoking.

This new mandate states that all campus buildings in the SUNY system will be smoke-free effective July 1, 2007. This includes all dormitories, campus vehicles, and SUNY owned facilities, but the law will likely have little effect on students here.

In Geneseo, it has become routine for students at the beginning of every school year to go to the main lounge area of their dorms to listen to information regarding the new semester. Smoking regulations are also voted on at these meetings. Students on campus have historically voted against smoking in the dorms. According to Dr. Robert A. Bonfiglio, vice president of student and campus life, "Resident students have, year after year, voted to ban smoking in the residence halls, so in actuality the mandate will have no concrete impact whatsoever on Geneseo students."

Non-smokers on campus have also expressed the same sort of reaction to the new mandate. Annie Kim, a freshman, said, "I don't think it will make much of a difference, but it's good overall." Even smokers showed the same disregard of the new mandate.

"Even if you are a smoker, it's not a good idea to smoke inside the building anyways. I would much rather smoke outside instead of letting the smoke permeate everything I own. Everything would stink," said senior Chris Murphy.

The only change that would be visible at Geneseo would be an end to the smoking vote at the beginning of every academic year. Bonfiglio said that "although the tradition will be eliminated, the results will remain the same."

The reasoning behind the new campus law has far-reaching goals in mind. "This policy takes a number of additional measures to ensure that our students are educated about the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke," said SUNY Chancellor John R. Ryan. The new SUNY mandate hopes to have an impact on the smoking levels across campuses. Alyssa Amyotte, president of student assembly said, "this policy will go a long way to enhance the overall health and education of SUNY students."

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 21.5 percent of adults 18 years of age and over currently smoke cigarettes. According to the National Center For Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, smoking and second-hand smoke are the main causes for over hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide every year.