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Could Mills become a No-Smoking campus?

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

CNN recently aired a segment highlighting the newest trend sweeping college campuses: a smoke-free trend.

According to an article that appeared on CNN’s Web site (, nearly 60 colleges have adopted a smoke-free policy, restricting smoking throughout the campuses to either designated areas or off campus. Since smoking trends are highest amongst college students between the ages of 18-24 out of any other age group, it makes sense that so many college campuses are pushing for fresh, unpolluted air.

Gainesville College, a state commuter school in Atlanta, Georgia, has a strict no tobacco policy that was set in place four years ago, when President Martha Nestbitt saw it necessary to set an example for the entire community. Smoker areas are limited to their cars in lots outside of the school.

“I thought, we are an institution of higher education,” stated Nesbitt to CNN reporters. “We should be setting an example for a healthy lifestyle.”

This poses the question: should Mills be setting this example also? Mills women varied in their responses.

“I think it’s a person’s choice to smoke and if they’re outside then I don’t think it’s really anything to worry about,” said sophomore Leslie Neil.

Sophomore Alissa Chasten, who’s a non-smoker, agrees and doesn’t feel that Mills should be considering the policy.

“I’m not a smoker,” said Chasten, “but I’d be against the policy because even in state jobs they get a ten-minute smoking break and we’re paying to be here so why not? As long as it’s not in the classrooms then I don’t think it really matters.”

Two freshwomen, new to Mills and new to the policies, both agree with Chasten in finding a completely smoke-free campus unnecessary.

“I deserve the choice to be an idiot,” said Julie Sheldmen. “It would suck if Mills was a smoke-free campus. If it’s outside in an open space, then I don’t see the problem.”

“I wouldn’t like that at all,” agreed her friend and fellow smoker, Carrie Heath. “It would just be a big inconvenience.”

However, other students disagree, seeing the policy as the best way to go.

“I think it would be a great policy to have at Mills,” said sophomore Kathleen Ford, “I had to grow up as a second-hand smoker so I’d appreciate it if the entire campus was smoke-free.”

Institutions such as the American Cancer Society Action Network believe a smoke-free lifestyle is best and they are pushing to spread across the nation, with events such as the 31st Anniversary of the Great American Smoke-out. The event took place on Nov. 15, when smokers were urged to call the American Cancer Society hotline to embark on quitting. But according to Daniel Smith, the president of the American Cancer Society Network, this fad amongst colleges is not surprising.

“The trend toward a smoke free country is going on everywhere,” said Smith to CNN reporters. “I think college campuses are simply reflecting the same trend we’re seeing in society.”