The NJIT Smoke-Free Workplace Policy states, “NJIT is dedicated to providing a healthy, comfortable, and productive environment for our employees”. “To prevent smoke filtering into buildings and for the safety of those standing near exits, smoking is also prohibited within 25 feet of an entrance/exit to any university building. This policy applies to all employees, students, and visitors”. In addition, “…violations may be subject to disciplinary action…”.
“The smoke on campus not only takes away from its beauty, but serves as a major health hazard—a true stain on NJIT” says Yasmine Elfarra, a senior biology major. She said, “I was walking outside of Tiernan the other day with my one of my friends who is an asthmatic. There were students smoking outside the building and as we were walking, we walked through a cloud of smoke. My friend had to pull her inhaler out and use it because she felt an attack”.
By establishing the 25 feet rule—as many of us know it— NJIT seeks to maintain a balance between and protect the rights of those who wish to smoke on campus and those who would like to avoid it. Yet, the question here is, “is this policy being effectively enforced?”
The Student Senate conducted a survey about smoking on campus on Thursday, Oct. 5. The survey concluded that although 83% of students believe the rule should be enforced, only 23% believe it is currently being enforced. To investigate how the 25 feet rule was currently being administered, Dr. Marybeth Boger, Dean of Students, provided her input on the matter.
In an interview with The Vector, Dean Boger said, “Unfortunately smoking is rampant on campus. Right now, the University is looking to enforce it in ways that are not punitive—meaning violators should be issued reminders and warnings”.
When properly measured, the commercial smoking receptacles are less than 25 feet away from many of the buildings. This, could be encouraging those from the smoking population to not adhere to the 25 feet rule—to which Dean Boger made a note, stating she will do what she can to make a change to that. She concluded with, “NJIT has done a phenomenal job taking the first step and establishing the 25 feet rule.
However, in our environment— truly enforcing this policy is a work in progress and a moving piece. Looking forward as we continue along. We want to move to be a smoke free campus under the realms of this policy”. Because the policy is quite vague about the ways that it seeks to put the 25 feet rule into practice, there is a lot NJIT could do. A few suggestions have also been voted on by the student senate.