TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Barbara Buono that would require students at New Jersey’s public colleges and universities to go outside to light up their cigarettes received final legislative approval as it passed the Assembly today.
“Allowing students to smoke inside of dorm buildings is an unacceptable health risk,”said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex. “Not only does smoking dramatically increase the potential for a serious fire, but it also exposed non-smoking classmates to the dangers of second-hand smoke. College students need to realize when you live in a dormitory, your actions affect your neighbors as much as they affect you. Students who choose not to smoke should not have to deal with these risks.”
Bill S-2332 would amend current law to prohibit smoking in any building used as a student dormitory that is owned and operated by a public school or institution of higher education. Many institutions in the state and across the country already have bans in place on smoking in all buildings on campus, including private rooms in residence halls. Several states have enacted legislation similar to what Senator Buono has proposed. The administrations at these schools claim that a prohibition on smoking in residence halls reduces cleaning fees, maintenance fees and the risk of fire.
“It is an unfortunate fact that smoking is on the rise among college students – a fact that has an impact on all students living in our dormitories, whether they smoke or not. I may not be the most popular Senator with college-aged smokers in New Jersey after we pass this bill, but other students shouldn’t have to deal with the harmful consequences of those who decide to light up,” added Senator Buono.
Senate Bill 2332 passed the Assembly by a vote of 78-1. It also received the concurrence of the full Senate for minor amendments made by the Assembly. It now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature.