New Purdue smoking policy sparks complaints

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Purdue University's effort to limit where people can smoke has sparked dozens of complaints and even a few fires in an overfilled receptacle, but university officials say they are still working out kinks in the system.

The policy, which took effect July 1, limits smoking to 22 designated areas across campus. It also bans smoking in all vehicles owned or leased by the university.

Smokers say it's too restrictive and that areas aren't well labeled.

Senior Dallas Howard told the Journal & Courier of Lafayette that some smokers resent being restricted to areas that he says are often dirty or poorly labeled. A receptacle near the student union has caught fire because it's too full, he said.

"That is the most awful smell—burning cigarette butts," he said.

Howard said some of the areas are impossible for nonsmokers to avoid walking through, and he thinks the university should install more receptacles.

David Lehmann, president of the Pipe and Cigar Club, said the smoking areas aren't working for the club's 40 members.

"We tried smoking in the smoking areas. The things about those, they are small and not well kept and there is no place to dispose of cigars and they are not big enough," said Lehmann, a junior. "The smoke is so intrusive that we really can't smoke in these areas now."

Under the old policy, smokers were required to stay at least 30 feet from university facilities or in designated areas in the Union Club Hotel in the Purdue Memorial Union. The club was able to smoke at Founders Fountain behind Beering Hall.

Lehmann and the Purdue Student Government are asking that the smoking policy be changed to allow clubs to apply for a permit to have a designated smoking time.

Carol Shelby, Purdue's director of environmental health and public safety, said she has received two to four complaints a week about the policy. Most are from people complaining about violators or asking for more receptacles in designated smoking sites, she said.

She said she doesn't expect Purdue to add smoking areas but that it needed to re-examine the site near Purdue Memorial Union and Stewart Center that has caught fire and another near McCutcheon Hall.

"This is all about changing behaviors, and it takes time," she said.

Shelby said all student groups are required to follow university policy.

The Indiana General Assembly is expected to once again tackle the issue of a statewide smoking ban when the Legislature convenes in 2011. Indiana is among 11 states without a statewide law prohibiting smoking in public establishments.


  • Irony squared
    "The smoke is so intrusive that we really can't smoke in these areas now."
  • What really sucks...
    ... is smokers are in the minority.

    I know, "Majority rules is when three wolves and a lamb vote for what's supper", but we're talking about a small percentage (no more than 25%) making a stink (pun intended) and those who are in a position to establish the rules/policies/laws tend to listen to them.

    Why? Because they fear losing their positions. The smokers will band together and be a vocal minority in the next election. Those who favor someone for taking a stand aren't going to go out & march, simply because they feel the politicians are doing what they're supposed to.

    In Indianapolis, you can see people sitting in the visitors section, grabbing all of the available seats, making a lot of noise and making sure the law makers hear & see them.

    If you see the right clips, they pass out shirts to give them a unified appearance.

    When they speak of "rights", it's like the old sayings: "your right to make a fist ends at my nose" and "your right to make noise ends at my ears": "Your right to smoke ends at my nose."

    I haven't looked at the other comments. I'll wager there are some real crybabies talking about how their rights are being stomped on. If you think you've got a position, go smoke somewhere you're not supposed to, get nailed, grab a Public Defender, and make your case. If you're shot down, escalate until a particular court refuses to hear it. Overturn it. If smoking is such a great thing, get the legal system to back you.

    Tip: You won't win. The courts aren't going to do anything about it. Enjoy smoking while you can.

    In the meantime, we'll be basking in nice, smoke-free restaurants.

    This usually when they say, "if you don't like it, go somewhere else."

    Strangely, New York & California have bans on smoking. If any state is united on many fronts, it's California, the largest number of electoral votes. I can assure you those laws aren't going to be reversed.

    In terms of burning cigars in the receptacles, cigars don't last long unless something is keeping them burning - like sucking on one. If you put a cigar down - perhaps a table top for your experiment, cigars will go out in a fairly short period of time. It's because the tobacco is too loosely packed.

    Cigarettes are a different story. It's why they make good fuses.

    If there's no harm in smoking, why do benefit enrollment packets have this:

    [Yes] [No] Do you smoke?

    Now the $64k question: do I have a right to not hire a smoker simply because the premiums will go up for the remainder of my staff? So far, the answer is, "yes". Indiana's an at-will state. I can hire or fire on my whims - no cause required. I wield that with great care.

    You know what sucks?

    I have friends, who back in high school, were working in a restaurant. They didn't smoke, but when others went out, they took a hacky-sack. Management said they could go out to smoke, but not do something recreational. Smokers: don't claim you aren't special. That story points out you are.

    I helped a guy open a restaurant. It was a nice break from CompSci, starting at 17. (No one could figure out why I'd do scut work. The only time I wasn't doing computer stuff was Spring Break of my senior year in college. I needed a break. When slammed and a dishwasher was headed outside for a smoke, I made it quite obvious that if he walked out in the indoor conditions that he didn't need to come back in.

  • Ban Smoking
    I just think it is funny that you could take the quotes of the smoker, and they could come out of any non-smoker, ban supporter out there. Smoking smells... They smell... I'm glad they get a taste of what we have deal with because of THEIR dependency.

    I understand individual liberties, but until they develop a cigarette that doesn't shoot smoke into my personal space, then a ban is needed.
  • Wow
    Two to four complaints a week....wow, I bet they had to hire extra employees just to deal with all that negative feedback.
  • get over it
    HAHAHAHAH!!!! "The smoke is so intrusive that we really can't smoke in these areas now."

    I say, "The smoke is so intrusive that we really can't breath in most areas now, so smokers need designated smoking areas."

    Really though, at IUPUI the smoking receptacles catch fire and smolder all the time. They are metal boxes mounted on concrete or metal poles. Not a big deal if they catch fire.
  • Let adults be adults
    Ah, the unintended consequences of social despotism arise once again in the sainted name of public health.

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