Univ. to move smoking areas farther from buildings

Soon smokers on campus may have to do more than just go outside to have a cigarette.

A cross-departmental initiative to evaluate second-hand smoking on campus began this summer with representatives from the Offices of Risk Management, Residential Property Management, Facilities Planning and GW Housing Programs. The departments decided to relocate smoking areas further from the entrance of buildings as a first step in reducing second-hand smoke.

The committee will decide in coming months which University buildings will be affected.

“Ash-trays/cigarette litter containers directly in front of building doors will be moved. New cigarette litter containers will be installed around campus further away from building entrances, and as necessary the University will move or install benches to draw smokers away from building entrances,” said Matt Lindsay, assistant director of Media Relations in a press statement last week.

Lindsay added that each residence hall board has been given the power to determine if smoking will be permitted near its entrance.

“Residential Advisory Councils are responsible for helping each residential house determine community standards, based on the needs and wants of the community,” he said.

Last April, GW announced that they would post no smoking signage on University buildings after a petition was signed by at least 500 students.

The petition came after the University’s rejection of GW Law School professor John Banzhaf’s proposal to ban smoking within 25 feet of buildings on campus and the suggestion for GW to put up no-smoking signage. Banzhaf, a well-known crusader against smoking, also threatened to sue Fitzroy Smith, GW’s director of Risk Management and Insurance, for rejecting the proposal.

Banzhaf pointed to the fact that many other colleges around the country have banned smoking entirely on their campuses and that GW has an obligation to enforce the rules.

Lindsay said University departments will be working on the initiative throughout the coming months and hope to have the project complete by the end of the academic year.

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