City enforces smoking policy, so should campus

On March 21, the Allegheny County Health Department fined the Lithuanian Citizens’ Society of Western Pennsylvania a penalty of $16,250 for the latter’s failure to comply with the county’s workplace smoking ban.

However steep, this fine was a necessary step for Pittsburgh. The workplace smoking ban will not be taken seriously unless it is enforced. This was the Health Department’s first fine in conjunction with the ban, which has been in place since January 2.

Like Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon could benefit from stricter policy enforcement. Under the current policy, last updated in 2003, students are not allowed to smoke within 20 feet of entrances to campus facilities.

In spite of this rule, it’s nearly impossible to walk by Baker Hall without seeing at least one smoker standing within 20 feet of an entrance. Moreover, many of the “designated smoking areas” on campus (marked by those short cigarette disposals) are also within 20 feet of the entrances to buildings.

In fact, there is even a designated smoking area immediately next to a main entrance to the UC. If the UC, a hub for student activity on campus, can’t even follow the smoking policy, how are its students supposed to take it seriously?

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, since the fine, the Lithuanian Citizens’ Society has created a workplace smoking policy for its employees, in addition to posting “no smoking” signs in the building.

If our campus smoking policy was enforced, perhaps our campus would become a cleaner, healthier place. Carnegie Mellon can still reap much of the benefit a smoking ban if it were to implement the policy already on the books.