Group seeks to make SLU smoke-free

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A new student group that just began this summer is stirring up discussion among the student body. Smoke.Free.SLU is working to make Saint Louis University a smoke free-campus, following the precedent of institutions like Alverno College in Wisconsin and Purdue University in Indianapolis. Members of the group say that hope to eliminate the health dangers associated with secondhand smoke; other students, however, say the Smoke.Free.SLU’s plan will unnecessarily endanger personal freedom on campus.

“There have been other schools who have done this,” said Natalie Collins, Smoke.Free.SLU media relations chair. “Most recently Oklahoma State University has made its campus go smoke-free.”

Smoke.Free.SLU’s mission is to help reduce public exposure to secondhand smoke and the health problems that come with it. According to the surgeon general’s 2006 report, “the scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.” The report said that breathing secondhand smoke for even a short time can damage cells and increase the risk of cancer.

“As a campus that prides itself as being health conscious, we need to live up to that standard,” Collins said.

The group was created this past June by a handful of student from many different majors and backgrounds that felt the need for a smoke-free campus. The president of Smoke.Free.SLU is Sarah Kuehnle and the vice president is Carly Caminiti. The group is currently in the process of being chartered.

“Our goal is to make SLU a smoke-free campus,” Collins said. “We want to make the parking lots where smokers can smoke. Having designated smoking areas does not work.”

Besides pushing for a smoke-free campus, the group will hold workshops to raise awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke and help smokers to quit.

“This program would benefit both smokers and non-smokers,” Collins said, “We had a booth at the SLU fair and smokers even signed our petition.”

But not every smoker is so happy with this new group.

“It is a bad idea,” said Christina Arrom, a sophomore of the College of Art and Science. “It will make students who want to come here not want to come here because there’s so many rules. It is a free world, after all.”