by Andrew Slotnick
Cigarette smokers on the ‘Berklee Beach’ and elsewhere will need to seek out new places to light up when Berklee implements a new smoking policy next semester. Beginning in January 2011, smoking will be prohibited within 25 feet of all doors and open windows on campus. The Office of Public Safety will enforce the new policy and report violators to the appropriate authority at the college. The Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs Larry Bethune will hold forums Wednesday, November 3 and Thursday, November 4 to inform the college about the new policy and address students’ concerns. Students may also voice their opinions in the comment section below, or by emailing Larry Bethune—but please be respectful.
Local laws regulating the smoking of tobacco have become gradually more restrictive in the past decade. The City of Boston has prohibited smoking in all workplaces since 2003 with few exceptions, and in 2004 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts followed suit with a similar law that banned tobacco smoking in most workplaces. Boston’s rules became more strict in 2008 when the regulations were amended to forbid smoking in outdoor areas adjacent to businesses, including patios, decks, and loading docks.
Current state law forbids smoking outside workplaces where smoke can migrate inside, but it does not establish specific guidelines. A bill was filed in the 2009-2010 Massachusetts legislative session that would have banned smoking within 25 feet of doors, windows, and ventilation systems of businesses; however this bill was not passed into law and a new bill will have to be filed when the new legislative session begins in January 2011.
Berklee is voluntarily imposing the 25-foot limit for smoking in order to ensure smoke is unable to enter into school buildings from outside. The college wants to protect non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke, prevent fire hazards, and protect college property from damage by smoke and ash. Several local schools have already implemented similar policies to the one that will go into effect in January:
- Harvard University: “Smoking is prohibited inside all Harvard buildings and within 25 feet of the entrance to any Harvard University building entrance”
- Boston Conservatory: “Smoking is also prohibited within 30 feet of all exits to insure [sic] that environmental tobacco smoke does not enter the area through entrances, windows, ventilation systems or any other means.”
- Boston University: According to the Daily Free Press, BU prohibits smoking within 25 feet of the entrance to the Mugar Library.
- New England Conservatory: “Smoking is permitted outside the building only in designated smoking areas.”
Here is the official announcement from the Dean of Students:
FORUMS ON SMOKING POLICY CHANGE
Wednesday, November 3 & Thursday, November 4
From 1:00p to 2:00p
@ The Loft, 939 Boylston Street
Effective January 1, 2011, the college will implement an amendment to the current policy on smoking. In order to better comply with state and city laws and regulations, smoking will not be permitted within 25 feet of an exit, entrance, or open window of any campus building. Students, faculty, and staff who want to learn more about this amendment to the Smoking Policy are invited to attend one of the two forums listed above where this amendment will be presented, explained, and discussed.
The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students
The Office of Human Resources
The Student Government Association