IRHA approves bill to ban smoking in dorms

Jamie Ridnour and Sara Tennessen

Students will have one less box to check on next year’s residence hall applications. Starting in Fall 2002, Iowa State will not allow smoking in the residence halls.

The Inter-Residence Hall Association approved a bill to ban smoking in the residence halls by a vote of 15-4-3 at Thursday night’s meeting.

The decision will now be presented to the Department of Residence for approval, said IRHA President Paul Duncan, and IRHA is working with the department to develop outdoor shelters for smokers.

Jeff Greiner, Union Drive Association president and the bill’s sponsor, said the decision should be based on two things – the desires of the residents and what IRHA members felt was best for their constituents.

“Out of the 7,000 and some residents, there are 181 people who marked themselves [on the contracts] as smokers,” he said.

Greiner said the number may not accurately represent those residents who actually smoke because people do not always mark the contracts reflecting their interests.

He also quoted an article published by the Center of Disease Control about smokers living in dorm rooms.

“A person who’s not a smoker living with a smoker, is four times as likely to contract asthma,” Greiner said.

He said he is not prepared to “condemn people to a possible slow and painful death.”

Duncan said there was very little controversy over the issue.

“IRHA representatives did a good job of talking with their constituents before they voted on it,” he said. “I think there were a lot of people who were really vocal.”

Duncan said he doesn’t expect very much backlash from smokers.

“I think that everyone will respect it,” he said. “Most of the people in the residence halls go outside to smoke already.”