From the Emirates: NYUAD goes smoke free

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in Issue 43 of The Gazelle, the student publication at NYU Abu Dhabi. It has been reprinted with permission as a part of an ongoing collaboration between The Gazelle and WSN to connect our two campuses.

“NYUAD is a smoke-free campus.” NYU Abu Dhabi’s new smoking policy begins with a simple sentence, one ominous to smokers and comforting to non-smokers.

Most people are already aware of the risks of tobacco use and tobacco users are arguably the most aware of the damage it causes to their bodies.

Upperclassmen and faculty alike are used to the experience of smoking in Sama Tower. They are used to a different level of access, where smoking was only an elevator ride away rather than a trek around campus and sometimes across roads. There’s a saying that, “old habits die hard” and this is definitely true of the smoking situation on Saadiyat.

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Adam Ramey, Associate Professor of Political Science at NYUAD said, “While the UAE federal law from 2009 bans smoking in educational institutions, it says nothing about residential units within academic institutions.”

The change in policy stems from a law that states that educational facilities must be smoke-free. But what exactly does this mean? It is understandable that enclosed spaces such as buildings should remain smoke-free for the comfort and health of those who use them.

When it comes to outdoor areas, however, the rules can become open to many interpretations. What exactly is considered off-campus? When asked, Public Safety officers respond by saying that crossing the street would place you off-campus.

The confusion about the new smoking rules is genuine. The new rules claim that the school requires cooperation and consideration of both smokers and non-smokers to achieve success. Seniors and smokers, Andrew Pitts and Moiri Gamboni, agree that cooperation between smokers and non-smokers is necessary to fulfill the existing policy, but that it isn’t happening.

In order to promote this cooperation, Pitts has initiated the formation of a new Student Interest Group, named SIGarette, in order to help dispel this lack of communication and cooperation between smokers and nonsmokers. Pitts says that the main goal of his SIG would be to help create a clean environment on campus, including receptacles for cigarette butts. As it stands, smokers tend to throw their butts on the ground, creating unsanitary and unsightly waste, or to throw them in recycling bins, which are not meant for cigarette waste.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Sept. 15 print edition. Email Alyssa Ferreira at [email protected]

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