Monday, September 5, 2011

Gallaudet Goes Smoke-Free!

In an email recently sent to Gallaudet University students on Friday, September 2nd:
"Gallaudet has revised its smoking policy, effective October 3rd. In the next few weeks you will receive information on the location of designated smoking areas and smoking cessation classes.

As of October 3, smoking will only be allowed in marked, designated areas. Smoking will not be allowed in any campus building, at the entrance of any campus building, or while walking on campus. Enforcement of the policy will depend on the cooperation of all faculty, teachers, staff and students, not only to comply with the policy to also to encourage others to comply in order to provide a healthy environment in which to work, study and live."
This brings many memories for me, as a undergraduate freshman at Gallaudet, I distinctly remember people smoking in Gallaudet buildings-- in the dorm lobby, dorm rooms, Ely Center (where Rathskellar and MarketPlace used to be), and even in the classrooms, if the teacher permitted it!

And then on October 1st, 1990, Gallaudet decided to disallow smoking in buildings. I remember that very well-- people quickly became used to the policy, as if it was second nature. Although I remember a few stubborn students smoking secretly in the dorms... getting reported to the Dorm Resident Assistant, and getting fined (I think I remember it being $20 or so).

Twenty-one years later, Gallaudet is now finally protecting the health of all who work, study and live on campus, especially those with lung sensitivities-- now they can walk freely on campus and not have to worry about accidentally inhaling cigarette smoke as they exit or enter the buildings they work or live in.

Truth be told... I cannot comprehend how much money this will save Gallaudet-- the employees paid to pick up cigarette butts and clean ashtrays (one full-time employee, in fact); replacing damaged ashtrays ($200 apiece); reduced liability insurance (due to reduced fire hazard); and health insurance costs/absenteeism for employees who smoke, and for those who do not but have reactions towards cigarette smoke and many more. This change will also become an excellent recruiting tool for future Gallaudet faculty, staff and students-- parents will certainly appreciate a smoke-free campus so their children aren't exposed to or encouraged to smoke. Other organizations, schools and companies will be more inclined to rent our campus property, knowing they will not have to deal with issues regarding smoking while hosting their events on our campus.

And this will no longer be a sore eye on campus-- at the building entrances, that is....