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NJ College Campuses To Go Totally Tobacco-Free? [POLL/AUDIO]

Since 2005, New Jersey has had a law on the books that bans smoking in dorm rooms, but two lawmakers think it is time to do away with all smoking on every college and university campus in the Garden State.

Flickr User Alexis Bellido

In fact, a new bill co-sponsored by Assemblywomen Celeste Riley and Connie Wagner would force campuses to go 100-percent tobacco-free.

This bill amends the “New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act” to prohibit smoking in any area of any building of, or on the grounds of, or in any facility owned, leased, or controlled by, any public or private institution of higher education in this State or a related entity thereof, regardless of whether the area or facility is an indoor public place or is outdoors.

“This would make them (colleges and universities) smoke-free both private and public,” explains Riley. “Tobacco-free everywhere on the campus…..Other state properties are that way so we want our colleges and universities to go that route…..We were approached by the American Cancer Society on this particular issue. They really are pushing for this and we support it wholeheartedly.”

The bill defines “related entity” to include, but not be limited to, the foundation, auxiliary services corporation, or alumni association of an institution of higher education, or any subsidiary of such an entity. In addition, the provisions of this bill go beyond the scope of the “New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act.”

“We’re talking about chewing tobacco as well,” says Wagner. “I’ve been on college campuses and if they’re chewing tobacco and they spit it out and it goes on the roadways and the walkways, it’s disgusting looking.”

The Assembly Higher Education Committee discussed the bill yesterday, but did not take a vote. During testimony, a Rutgers official voiced a concern about tailgaters who like to light up a cigar before a football game. Riley and Wagner say that’s why the legislation was only up for discussion. They want to get as much input as possible.


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