Nicotine addicts can no longer light up anywhere on any of Pennsylvania's 14 state university campuses following the state higher education authority's decision to ban on-campus smoking, the Associated Press reported late last week.
Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education notified students of the ban last Wednesday, the day before a statewide ban on smoking in most workplaces and public spaces took effect. Chancellor John Cavanaugh told the AP that the state law means a smoking ban on all campus grounds, not just academic buildings or residence halls, and that he put the campuswide bans in place accordingly.
Though the American Lung Association said more than 130 colleges and universities across the county have enacted similar no-smoking policies, creation of a completely smoke-free state university system is unprecedented. Pennsylvania's 14 state universities serve about 110,000 students.
Smoking and nonsmoking students who disagree with the ban's merit organized peaceful protests on at least three Pennsylvania campuses last week. About 60 students at Clarion University protested the ban by marching to the campus library and lighting up upon arrival.
"We're simply asking for some compromise, like one or two designated (smoking) areas on campus," 20-year-old freshman Steve Dugan told the AP. "It would have been better if there were more warning given and a chance to put in our own ideas."