Victoria Ronan

Equinox Staff


Many Keene State College students believe the smoking on campus has gotten out of hand and that it needs to be addressed.

Savahn Steadman, a freshman at KSC, does not approve of the smoking all around campus. “People who smoke are killing themselves and killing us with the second-hand smoke.” Many students feel the same as Steadman. Hayley Rennie, a KSC freshman, said the only time the smoking bothers her is when she is walking behind someone on her way to class and she can’t get away from the smoke. Currently the school’s policy states that smoking is prohibited within 20 feet of any building. Christine Burke, director of the Center for Health and Wellness, does not believe the five foot change will really affect smokers on campus. “There is really no way to enforce the 5 foot change so it isn’t going to do much.”

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However, Burke said the minor change that is being made to the school’s tobacco policy has brought up many other issues. “A major question that has come up is whether campus should eventually become tobacco-free or if there should be designated smoking areas in the future.” Burke said the health and wellness center wants to make the campus as healthy as possible. “The ultimate goal being a health person on campus is eliminating tobacco use. It’s the healthiest option, but it would also be a major culture shift.”

According to the Keene State College’s tobacco policy, smoke-free air will always have priority when the needs of smokers and non-smokers conflict. Many students on campus have problems identifying where they can and cannot smoke. There is a challenge with signage about the smoking policy according to Burke. She said the challenge is not having the signs blend in with everything else.

The popular smoking spots on campus not only bother students out on campus, but it even affects them in their bedrooms. KSC freshman, Marissa MacEachern said she thinks it smells funny, but it doesn’t usually bother her. The only time it affects her is when she’s in her room. She lives in a freshman residence hall. “It really bothers me when I am in my room with the window open and then all the smoke comes straight through the window.”

Burke said the Center for Health and Wellness will be handling the issue and hopefully moving forward with it. She said a survey will be coming out to both students and faculty sometime this spring semester. It will be about keeping the current tobacco policy or making it more restrictive. The school will be taking the feedback from the survey to help decide if changes need to be made to the tobacco policy. She said another concern is people’s rights. “We don’t want to impede on anyone’s right to use tobacco but we also have to think about the overall well being of students on campus.” She said the school recognized there are students who smoke and use tobacco products and they want to be sensitive towards them about this issue.

Burke said the Center for Health and Wellness receives complaints about smoking on campus from mostly faculty and sometimes even parents. She said sometimes a parent will call if their child has asthma for example and the smoke bothers them. “Students are more tolerant.” She said they don’t really get many complaints from students about the smoking on campus. Burke also said the Center for Health and Wellness offers a lot of support to students that are trying to quit using tobacco products. According to the Center for Disease Control the younger people begin smoking cigarettes the more likely they are to become strongly addicted to nicotine.

According to a national survey by Harvard University, the restrictions schools have in place about tobacco can affect how many students start using tobacco when they come to college. It states that students who did not smoke before they were 19 and lived in smoke-free housing were less likely to smoke tobacco compared to students who live in unrestricted housing. The smoking on campus affects not only the people smoking but also the entire campus. College officials are aware of the effects and the upcoming survey will help them decide whether a change is needed.

Burke said they do not want to make this situation a good guy, bad guy thing and she is really hoping a lot of students participate in the survey.


Victoria Ronan can be contacted at



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  1. riffraf

    Smoking outside of Carle Hall is a problem. So many dorm rooms stink from second hand smoke. The buffer zone between smoking areas and residence halls needs to increased to much more than the present 20 feet.