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Residence halls to go smoke free

Miami will become part of a growing minority of universities in the United States that fully restrict smoking in residence halls starting in fall 2002.

Currently five Miami residence halls are smoke-free with the other 31 prohibiting smoking in public areas but allowing it in students’ rooms.

The university started studying a smoking ban two years ago, says Rob Abowitz, associate director of residence life. Concerns including student health, fire safety, environmental tobacco smoke and the public nuisance caused by smoking prompted the move, adds Lucinda Coveney, director of student housing and meal plan services.

Miami’s Residence Hall Management Advisory Group and office of health education helped gather information from student focus groups, surveys and outside research to help in the decision-making.

Although 81 percent of colleges prohibit smoking in all public areas, only 27 percent prohibit smoking in students’ dormitories, according to a report published last spring by the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study.

Another Harvard study determined college students who live in smoke-free dorms are 40 percent less likely to take up smoking than students who live in unrestricted housing.

An informal check locally found the University of Dayton also prohibits smoking in residence halls, the University of Cincinnati offers some smoke-free halls and Xavier University allows smoking in just one wing of one hall. Other Ohio schools that said they were smoke-free include Ashland, Bowling Green State, Ohio State, Youngstown State and Wittenberg universities and Baldwin Wallace College.

Date Published: 10/25/2001
Volume: 21   Number: 13

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