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Students Criticize WCC Smoking Ban Policy

VALHALLA, N.Y. – A policy that bans tobacco from the entire campus of Westchester Community College could be in the best interest of people’s health, yet not everyone sees the new adopted policy as reasonable.

Alyssa Spizzirro, a student at WCC from Katonah, was critical of the school’s decision to prohibit a lifestyle choice.

“I understand that they’re doing it to promote a healthy life, but it’s not really up to them” Spizzirro said. “We’re all adults and we’re all allowed to smoke and if they don’t want people to do that than they should live in a different society,”

The new policy, set to take place on January 1, will ban smoking and other tobacco products on campus for all students, faculty members, workers and administrators.  According to Pat Hennessey, a spokesman and the Director of College-Community Relations for WCC, the policy was approved by administrators and the school’s board of trustees. Hennessey said the policy will allow security to enforce fines, suspensions and dismissal to students for smoking on campus, but he believes it will not be strictly enforced as the college hopes to ease into the policy.

The campus currently allows smoking on campus in areas away from building entrances. Hennessey said many students have complained about the issue of secondhand smoke.

“A number of students have complained that there’s so much secondhand on campus that they end up walking to class and they get there smelling like smoke, even though they’re not a smoker,” Hennessey said.

Roslyn Dease, of the Bronx, said that cigarette butts scattered around are very common.

“When I smoke I always try to toss my butts in an ash tray but there’s definitely a lot of people that just toss them aside,” said Dease, a student at WCC.

Jordan Nyemchek, also a student at WCC and a resident of Yonkers, echoed Spizzirro’s thoughts on the ban.

“It’s not a bad idea but it’s kind of telling us what we can and can’t do,” said Nyemchek. “You can’t tell people that go to classes here all day long that they can’t go outside and smoke a cigarette,”

Nyemchek also said it was common for even professors to call breaks in the middle of class in order for students and professors to go outside and smoke.

Hennessey said the campus will be organizing ways to help smokers quit, such as building an online help resource website and putting together alternative workshop events, such as hypnosis.

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