Dana Rasamny, a junior English major at Stony Brook University, enjoys a cigarette outside of the Student Activities Center. Students like Rasamny will not be persecuted for smoking on SUNY campuses for at least another ten years. (JESUS PRICHARDO / THE STATESMAN)
Dana Rasamny, a junior English major at Stony Brook University, enjoys a cigarette outside of the Student Activities Center. Students like Rasamny will not be persecuted for smoking on SUNY campuses for at least another ten years. (JESUS PRICHARDO / THE STATESMAN)

Contrary to the announcement made last semester, Stony Brook University will not be tobacco-free in 2014, following the New York State Legislature’s failure to pass a State University of New York-wide tobacco ban during the 2013 legislative session.

The policy would have prohibited the use of all tobacco products—e-cigarettes, hookahs, pipes and chewing tobacco—both indoors and outdoors on all Stony Brook property, including parking lots, the Manhattan and Southampton campuses and property leased by the university.

The impetus for the policy came from a resolution drafted by the Chancellor’s Task Force for a Tobacco-Free SUNY and adopted by the SUNY Board of Trustees in June of last year, which called for legislation to ban tobacco use on all SUNY property by Jan. 1, 2014.

In response, SUNY campuses prepared to comply with the Jan. 1 target date by releasing tobacco-free policies and guidelines for implementation.

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However, the legislation introduced in the State Senate and Assembly did not come to a vote before the end of the 2013 legislative session in June, according to the State Assembly website. This caused the bills to die.

Though some SUNY campuses, including the University at Buffalo and SUNY College at Cortland, have already implemented tobacco-free policies without the passage of legislation, Stony Brook has opted not to go forward with the policy without the passage of a SUNY-wide tobacco ban legislation.

“Concerns were raised that [a tobacco free policy] should be collectively bargained in the absence of legislative directive,” Media Relations Officer Lauren Sheprow said. “Implementing a policy will follow legislation.”

Stony Brook’s current smoking policy, approved in 2009, bans smoking in all indoor locations, as well as 25 feet from all buildings.

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Senior philosophy major Johnathan Bostrom, a smoker, said he supported the university’s decision to wait for the passage of a law.

“If it goes through the legislative process, there are obviously enough people who want it to make it happen,” Bostrom said. “More time is never a bad thing.”

And senior health science major Michelle Smith, a member of the Student Health Advisory Committee, agrees, saying she thinks “legislation would make things more concrete and organized.”

The university first announced the policy on April 20 online, featuring a message from President Samuel Stanley, a frequently asked questions page and information about tobacco cessation programs.

It has not been updated to reflect the required legislation did not pass and a newsletter distributed to incoming freshman this semester still advertised the January 2014 tobacco-free date.

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There has been no indication yet whether the SUNY system will push for the re-introduction of legislation in the 2014 session of the State Legislature, but if such a measure passes, the SUNY system will become the largest public university in the country to implement a 100 percent tobacco-free policy.

Still, some students think do not think a tobacco-free policy matters.

“I don’t think tobacco is a big problem,” Muhtasim Chowdhury, a 20-year-old undeclared student, said. “People will find other places to smoke.

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3 comments

  1. What a big f-ing joke smoke(and tobacco)-free campus policies are. I’ve seen them implemented in countless hospitals and community colleges, and I haven’t seen one hospital or college where I didn’t see at least a few people quietly ignoring the foolish outdoor ban. Very big proof too that the crusade by antis to pass further bans was NEVER about health, and all in the name of selfishly de-normalizing outdoor smoking.

  2. Why a need to ban for what purpose,there is none! 18 and older are adults and that’s whats in college.

    You would deny adults their own choises………………of course you would the same as you deny private property owners their rights to decide how to run their own businesses with the indoor smoking bans based upon JUNK SCIENCE!

    This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:

    Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.

    By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.

    Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.

    What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.

    “I think people are grateful just to have a shot at getting lungs,” said Dr. Sharven Taghavi, a cardiovascular surgical resident at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, who led the new study………………………

    Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!

    The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:

    Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.

    146,000 CIGARETTES SMOKED IN 20 YEARS AT 1 PACK A DAY.

    A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.

    Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!

  3. “However, the legislation introduced in the State Senate and Assembly did not come to a vote before the end of the 2013 legislative session in June, according to the State Assembly website. This caused the bills to die.”

    It is inaccurate to say that the bill is dead. Indeed the normally scheduled Legislative Session for 2013 is over, but the actual session lasts through the end of next year. This exact same bill could be acted on during the January to June Legislative Session of 2014 or at any other time that the Legislature chooses to convene an extraordinary session until the end of 2014. At that point the bill would die and have to be reintroduced.

    The New York State Legislature is similar to Congress in this regard (We’re only up to the 113th Congress, not the 225th). Their actual sessions are two years long, and all of the bills introduced in each session die at the end of the two year long session or upon being voted down, whichever happens first.

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