Student Smokers on Point Park’s Campus say that more approved smoking spots would improve their college experience.
by Andrew W. Henderson
Everyone knows that smoking is bad. It’s been quite some time since cigarette ads claimed to be doctor recommended. Yet many people still choose to take up the habit. These people often find themselves put in awkward situations, just to be able to enjoy a cigarette, with many locations requiring smokers to stand in a specific spot to smoke, if not banning the act altogether.
Point Park University’s campus is one of those locations. The school’s student handbook specifies, “It is the policy of the University to provide a smoke-free environment in all campus facilities and vehicles in which University functions or services are carried out”. The handbook goes on to say that not only is smoking prohibited in these places, but it is also banned outside of campus buildings and anywhere campus-adjacent where smoke could “enter and affect the internal environment or unduly affect the environment of those entering or exiting the facility”. Point Park’s campus has one designated smoking area behind the West Penn building. Smoking outside of this zone could result in a $100 fine.
Jorden Bodenschatz, a junior creative writing major from Johnstown, Penn., and a student smoker, feels that this policy is too restrictive. She said that she tries to follow the guidelines, but sometimes following the rules just isn’t feasible.
“I try to go to West Penn as much as I can, but when I’m going to walk to class I just light up and walk,” she said in a telephone interview on Saturday, Dec. 6. She says that despite this, campus police have never confronted her.
She said that Point Park’s community is not always welcoming of smokers.
“Last year I was sitting outside of Thayer hall and Point Park employees would come by and kind of snarl at me. I was like, ‘I don’t know what they want me to do; I’m not going to walk a mile just to smoke’’.
The restrictions, however, are not only the work of Point Park University rule-makers, the city of Pittsburgh agrees. On October 1, 2008, Pittsburgh’s Smoke-Free Workplace Policy went into effect. This policy banned smoking in public facilities, including schools, as well as within 20 feet of the entrance of those facilities. This policy is itself a reference to an earlier Pennsylvania law, The Clean Indoor Air Act, which was signed into law in June of 2008.
Bodenschatz still feels that Point Park could do more to accommodate smoking students on their campus.
“It would be so helpful if Point Park would set up more smoking areas,” she said. “I’m not trying to glorify smoking, but more smoking areas would be very nice”.
To be printed in The Globe next semester