HKS To Go Smoke-Free March 1

The Harvard Kennedy School will become a smoke-free campus starting March 1, Executive Dean John A. Haigh announced last week.

The Kennedy School will join the Harvard Medical School and Business School in enacting a comprehensive prohibition of smoking anywhere on its grounds and within 25 feet of building entrances and windows.

“We make this move to promote good health and to reduce any impact from smoke upon our staff, faculty, and students, following decades of research on the negative impacts of smoking and second-hand smoke,” Haigh wrote in an email to students and faculty.

Another major impetus to go smoke-free was the U.S. Green Building Council’s recent changes to certification requirements, according to Jeffrey L. Martin, director of the Office of Facilities Management at the Kennedy School.

The USGBC’s new policies make green building requirements much more stringent, which would have prevented several HKS construction projects from receiving green certification if the school had continued to allow smoking on its grounds.

Martin said that there was no vocal negative response to the policy change from either faculty or students, and that the transition to a smoke-free campus should be a smooth one.

“The biggest obstacle will be with executive education and guests,” said Martin, in reference to the large and diverse body of international visitors that the Kennedy School frequently hosts.

In an effort to enforce the new rules, no-smoking signs were erected on Feb. 27 and Harvard security guards in the area were instructed to give information cards to smokers infringing upon the new ban.

The smoking ban comes at a moment when College administrators and House Masters are considering the adoption of a university-wide ban on smoking, a topic which they discussed last Thursday night at a Committee on Student Life meeting.

The Kennedy School’s ban may be an indicator that anti-smoking efforts have gained momentum on campus, and that the Harvard community may see similar regulations spread across the University in the future.

The ban is preceded by a 2008 research paper co-authored by Harvard professors David M. Cutler ’87 and Edward L. Glaeser, which suggested that workplace smoking bans could have a multiplying effect.

“Individuals whose spouse faced a workplace smoking ban were less likely to smoke themselves.” wrote Cutler and Glaeser.

According to their research, an individual is 40 percent less likely to smoke if a spouse quits smoking, results which support the Kennedy School’s efforts to reduce smoking on campus.

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