University of Rhode Island

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University of Rhode Island

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Arenít students adults who should be able to make adult decisions?

    a. The collegeís responsibility is to guide students as they become adults and to help them make adult decisions which take into account consequences for the self and others. Allowing students to smoke inside buildings sends the message that harming others for oneís own convenience is acceptable.

2. Whatís the harm in letting students smoke in their own enclosed space?

    a. Smoke travels. Open doors, space in door frames, heating vents, and other airways allow smoke to travel outside the boundary of an individual studentís room. Because environmental tobacco smoke, like asbestos, is a Class A carcinogen, any amount of exposure is harmful.

3. Why not just let roommates work it out?

    a. Many students lack the skills or confidence to argue with their roommate on this topic. They also fear angering their roommate or damaging their friendship. With no policy and clear school support behind them, many students do not feel empowered to stand up for themselves. Furthermore, even when the subject is broached, the smoking roommate may not comply. Roommate relationships are complicated enough as it is. It is unfair to students to place them in this no-win situation.

4. Isnít it a violation of studentís rights to regulate their personal living space?

    a. No. As owners of residential property, colleges and universities have the right to regulate the way the space is treated. Significant smoking-related damage, from extra cleaning to fires, harms property and costs the school money. Most colleges and universities have rules against even slightly damaging actions like using tacks or adhesive tapes on dorm walls. Banning smoking in rooms is one more facet of preventive maintenance. More and more landlords in the real world now only accept nonsmokers for this reason.

5. Whatís wrong with allowing the sale of a legal product on campus?

    a. Universities and colleges are breeding grounds for lung cancer, especially now that the national college smoking rate has climbed to 28.5%. Allowing the sale of tobacco products on campus puts colleges in an ethical quandary. This permission, let alone any profit from tobacco sales, makes colleges complicity in destroying the lives of the very students they seek to educate.