Smoke-free Air Act recieves mixed reviews

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed to extend the Smoke Free-Air Act to prohibit smoking in public beaches, parks and pedestrian plazas and malls in an effort to clean New York City’s air and promote health.  

This proposal is “another piece of the puzzle” for the Mayor, who signed Smoke-free Air Act amendments 2003 to restrict smokers in public indoor areas such as bars, and restaurants.  

The Mayor’s new plan has received mixed emotions from St. John’s Students.  

“I don’t agree with it, I think it’s unnecessary, its extra laws which cause problems. It makes it harder for cigarette smokers to smoke, who rightfully have the right to smoke” said freshman Kevin Behrens.

Junior Jeff Dilorenzo had the opposite response.

“Even though I’m a smoker, I definitely agree with it because I don’t think it’s fair to people who don’t smoke, to have to be around people who do,” he said.

It’s still undetermined how the new amendment will affect the University’s smoking policy, but as of now it complies with the 2003 amendments outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.  

According to the Student Code of Conduct “smoking is prohibited in all University buildings, and smoking is prohibited within 30 feet of building entrances and open windows”.

This policy extends to all members of the St. John’s community including students, employees, and visitors of the university.

Rarely do smokers violate the university’s policy by smoking indoors however, on a daily basis they could be found directly outside, not 30 feet away from, the entrances to University buildings and residence halls.  

One of the most recognizable cases of this infringement is the smoking populace that frequently gathers in the breezeway in front of the second floor entrance to Marillac Hall.

The university does not enlist public safety officers or officials to maintain the policy, so these violations like this aren’t usually dealt with. However, if someone witnesses any violation they can report it to Human Resources Services for employee concerns or the Dean of Students office for a student concern.

Staff violations may result in “dismissal, demotion, suspension, and many other acts of discipline.” Students as well as host of guest who violate the policy will have to deal with the vice president of Student Life who may impose “any penalty they see fit.”