Tobacco-free initiative clears the air


Hark Kanwal

As part of the SSC’s tobacco-free initiative purple dots have been painted outside of Weinstein and Bobst.

Disha Gupta, Contributing Writer

In an effort to combat smoking on campus, the NYU Student Senators Council launched the Tobacco-Free Initiative, a plan that aims to make NYU tobacco-free. Smoking tobacco kills over 480,000 people in the United States alone each year and that number seems to be only rising.

Outside of two smoking hot-spots on campus, Weinstein Residence Hall and Bobst Library, purple dots have been painted on the ground with the phrase, “let’s keep NYU tobacco-free.” These dots serve to designate the smoke-free zones in front of each building.

Chair of the SSC and Gallatin senior Michael Hengerer believes the initiative will bring a positive impact to the NYU community.

“The initiative represents our commitment to making NYU a healthier place for all members of our community,” Hengerer said.

Despite this effort to make campus smoke-free, most students have yet to even notice the dots adorning the sidewalks  CAS freshman Tiffany Bai said she thinks the initiative will not be effective.

“The dots don’t discourage students from smoking,” Bai said. “They just make them move to a different place on campus.”

SPS freshman Michelle Liu says that while she has noticed the program, she initially did not know what purpose they served.

“People don’t look at the ground so people won’t notice them,” Liu said. “Most students are too busy to stop and look at the signage around them.”

Valeria Rodriguez, a CAS freshman living in Weinstein, believes the university should work on actively promoting the initiative.

“I see people smoking outside of Weinstein and Bobst on a daily basis,” Rodriguez said. “And the dots won’t stop [smoking] if people don’t know about them or what they are.”

Rodriguez believes that while the dots will decrease, but not eliminate, the amount of smoking in front of Weinstein and Bobst, they do not combat the issue of teenage smoking. They will, however, succeed in limiting the amount of secondhand smoke inhaled by bystanders around these two hotspots.

To keep pushing for change, Rodriguez, like many, hopes for a comprehensive initiative approach.

“The next step in the Tobacco-Free Initiative should be to inform teenagers of the harms of smoking,” Rodriguez said.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, September 14 print edition. Email Disha Gupta at [email protected]