TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Barbara Buono and Fred H. Madden that would require students at New Jerseys colleges and universities to go outside to light up their cigarettes was signed into law today by Governor Richard J. Codey.
“College students will be able to breathe easier this fall, both from the cleaner air in their rooms and the knowledge that one more safety hazard has been reduced,” said Senator Barbara Buono, D-Middlesex. “Students at our public colleges and universities should realize that while they have the right to choose to smoke and chance the risks that come along with it, they don’t have the right to make those choices for their neighbors. This law will drastically reducing the chance of a dorm fire and diminish exposure to second-hand smoke.”
“When it comes to college dormitories, health and safety must be the top priorities of school officials,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “This bill strikes a balance by recognizing that many college students are adults who can buy cigarettes, but it preserves the safety of dormitories where large numbers of students live, study and sleep. The signing of this measure shows New Jerseys commitment to the safety and well-being of its students.
Bill S-2332 will amend current law to prohibit smoking in any building used as a student dormitory that is owned and operated by an 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.
“Even though the harmful effects of cigarette smoke are widely known and taught in our schools, smoking is on the rise among college students. It’s a behavior that has an impact on all students living in our dormitories, whether they smoke or not. College students may be miffed that they have to leave their rooms in order to smoke, but other students shouldn’t’t have to deal with the harmful consequences of those who decide to ignore the dangers of smoking,” added Senator Buono.
The new law will go into affect on October 21, 2005.