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College Of DuPage Considers Campuswide Smoking Ban

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A woman lights up. (file/AFP Getty Images)

A woman lights up. (file/AFP Getty Images)

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GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (CBS) — The College of DuPage board is considering a stricter crackdown on smoking on the campus.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, a proposal before the board would ban smoking not just inside campus buildings – as state law requires – but anywhere on the campus in Glen Ellyn.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Nonsmokers complain that smokers routinely violate a rule that restricts them from lighting up less than 25 feet of entrances – particularly during the cold winter months.

“We’ve had an on-and-off discussion about going smoke free,” school communications director Joe Moore told the Naperville Sun.

With the college receiving a steady stream of complaints from those offended by smoke, and concerned about their own health, Moore said College of DuPage President Robert Breuder took up the issue in earnest about a year ago.

Consulting with the Student Leadership Association and working with Dean of Students Sue Martin, Breuder decided the time was right to make a move that appears to be popular with most in the College of DuPage community.

“If you want to smoke, go ahead,” Moore said, “just don’t do it here.”

Board Chairman Dave Carlin of Naperville hasn’t settled on a position yet.

“I’m still thinking it through,” he said, but stressed that both he and his colleagues “were inclined” to support the ban.

Carlin cited the problem of many with health problems such as asthma, lung disease or allergies negotiating their way through the throngs of those puffing away outside entrances.

“It can be problematic,” he said.

Carlin said there was also a financial incentive to ban smoking. Without the inevitable piles of cigarette butts outside, less housekeeping is required.

Some have suggested that smoking be banned not only outside the buildings, but in the students’ cars as well, reasoning that students would still stink of smoke and offend others or pose a risk to those with health problems.

“That’s ridiculous,” Carlin said.

He said that any attempt to ban smoking in cars would give him pause and pointed out that the students could still smoke in the car on their way to school, rendering a ban in cars pointless.

There were a few die-hard smokers puffing away outside the SRC recently. One, wanting to remain anonymous because family members were not aware of his habit, said he wasn’t particularly bothered by the prospect of waiting to light up.

“Not a lot of people know I smoke,” he said.

But he stressed that the rule would be beneficial to his health.

“It’s not the end of the world and it doesn’t bother me personally,” he said.

Also open-minded were some non-smokers.

Mark Charlton, an alum of COD, said his brothers smoked but he was never all that bothered by those smoking on campus.

“As long as they smoke in designated areas,” he said.

Anatomy and physiology professor Kathleen Finan stressed her opposition to the nicotine habit.

“I’m very anti-smoking,” she said, but worried about the image of COD as being not just anti-smoking, but anti-smoker.

“I’m concerned that it will discourage some students from coming here,” she said.

After the discussion on Thursday, the board will likely vote on the proposal in April.

The Naperville Sun contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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