Smoking could be banned in dorms

Jamie Ridnour

In the midst of a legal battle over the City of Ames smoking ban, the Inter-Residence Hall Association is considering a smoking ban of its own – in the dorms.

Students may not be able to light up in their dorm rooms next year if IRHA approves the bill to prohibit smoking in all residence halls by the Spring 2002 or Fall 2002 semester.

UDA President Jeff Greiner, who was unavailable for comment, will introduce the bill at tonight’s IRHA meeting. UDA at-large representative Erik Amundson is co-sponsoring the bill.

“Fumes from a cigarette permeate,” Amundson said. “If your room was a smoking room before, you can still smell it.”

IRHA President Paul Duncan said the residence hall smoking ban would have health and economic benefits.

“I believe that the . hazards smoke causes not only adversely affect our residents’ health but add unneeded expenditures to the Department of Residence,” he said. “The DOR throws away mattresses and other furniture each year drenched in the smell of smoke.”

According to the Department of Residence Undergraduate Residence Housing Terms and Conditions, smoking currently is allowed in student rooms when both roommates agree and the door remains shut to all non-smoking areas. Smoking is prohibited in all areas designated as smoke-free, including private rooms and commons areas.

The Department of Residence already has approved prohibiting smoking in the halls, but won’t put the regulation into effect for two years, said IRHA Vice President Dave Boike.

Amundson said feelings are mixed about the issue.

“Some constituents are for the bill, but against [an immediate change] because a contract has already been signed for this year,” he said.

The timing of the bill is still in question – it may or may not be put into effect this academic year, Amundson said.

“[IRHA wants] to make sure we’re getting the advice of the constituents,” he said. “[We are trying to] please everybody and make living in the residence halls less of a hassle.”

Boike said the issue will be addressed quickly. The meeting is tonight at 7 in the Maple-Willow-Larch conference room.

“The bill will be introduced this week and voted on in one week,” he said.