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Houses May Join Yard in Banning Indoor Smoking

Cabot, Dunster, Eliot Contemplate New Restrictions

By Abby Y. Fung, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER

Months after smoking was banned in all first-year dorms, Cabot House said it is likely to ban smoking later this year, and Dunster and Eliot houses are contemplating similar restrictions.

If they halted smoking in hallways and rooms, the three houses would join Currier and Leverett houses in forbidding students to light up.

"I foresee the possibility of moving toward a more stringent policy, possibly even banning smoking altogether, later this year," said James H. Ware, master of Cabot House and dean for academic affairs at the School of Public Health.

"I don't want to limit the liberties of any student, but I'm concerned that other students [who don't smoke] might be adversely affected by the cigarette smoke," Ware said.

Other House masters echoed growing national concerns about the health effects of second-hand smoke.

Stephen A. Mitchell, co-master of Eliot House, and Karel F. Liem, master of Dunster favor stricter measures on smoking if they had the support of house residents.

"If people really felt strongly about smoking, some parts of the house could be smoking zones but the others would be strictly non [smoking]," Mitchell said.

Liem said, "So far it hasn't been an issue, but I can't tell which direction we would go-complete smoking or complete non-smoking."

Eliot House currently allows students to smoke in their rooms. However, Mitchell said this policy has led to "several fires throughout our last years from people leaving [cigarette] butts in trash cans."

Mitchell, who has been Eliot House co-master since 1991, said a couch once caught on fire after students left a partially extinguished cigarette in their trash can.

Other houses, including Adams, Dunster, Lowell, Mather and Quincy, allow students to smoke in their rooms or suites, but not in the Houses' common areas. Students may also smoke outside these houses.

Pforzheimer House follows basically the same policy, but restricts students who smoke to rooms in certain parts of the house. House Master James J. McCarthy said smoking is permitted only in Comstock Hall, or on the upper two floors of Wolbach and Jordan halls.

Smokers and non-smokers alike voiced varying opinions as to whether smoking bans are desirable.

Jessica H. Ludwig '99, who does not smoke, said she knew Comstock was a smoking-designated hall but still chose to live there because she wanted a better room.

"I wasn't happy with the idea of inhaling second-hand smoke all year, but other non-smokers assured us that they hadn't had problems," she said.

However, Gina Petrocelli '99, who lives in Currier House, said she is happy she doesn't have to deal with smoke wafting through her room.

Smoking is banned in Currier House because the building's ventilation systems transmit odor from one smoker's room into other rooms and hallways throughout the house.

Lowell House Master William H. Bossert said that because Lowell has very different architecture from Currier House, there is no need for him to change his house's current smoking policy.

"Our ventilation is not like the other houses," Bossert said. "Our biggest problem is with smoke from burning wet logs in the fireplaces."

He also said he believed there were more Lowell residents this year who are smokers.

Quincy House Master Michael Shinagel and Dunster House Master Liem both said they believed smoking is on the decline.

Both said smoking is not an issue because the numbers of smokers in their houses are very low or practically nonexistent.

The masters from Kirkland and Winthrop Houses could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Cabot House's Ware, who is also Mosteller professor of biostatistics in the School of Public Health, said that regardless of smoking's popularity among students, "schools and colleges have a special responsibility toward young people to discourage cigarette smoking because there is nothing more damaging to one's health than smoking."

He said House masters had the power to change smoking policies in their respective Houses, as long as they have the support of House residents.

"[The smoking policy] is different in the different houses, but in the end, it's up to the various masters," Ware said.

Besides the new smoking ban this fall, first-years are also subject to a ban on halogen lamps.

Ware said he believed upper-class students may have been spared the moratorium on cigarettes and halogen lamps so far because of "custom and tradition," which have always allowed older students to have them.

Dean of Freshmen Elizabeth S. Nathans said in an e-mail that "there is absolutely no connection between our decision with regard to smoking and our decision to ban halogen lamps.

"I wasn't happy with the idea of inhaling second-hand smoke all year, but other non-smokers assured us that they hadn't had problems," she said.

However, Gina Petrocelli '99, who lives in Currier House, said she is happy she doesn't have to deal with smoke wafting through her room.

Smoking is banned in Currier House because the building's ventilation systems transmit odor from one smoker's room into other rooms and hallways throughout the house.

Lowell House Master William H. Bossert said that because Lowell has very different architecture from Currier House, there is no need for him to change his house's current smoking policy.

"Our ventilation is not like the other houses," Bossert said. "Our biggest problem is with smoke from burning wet logs in the fireplaces."

He also said he believed there were more Lowell residents this year who are smokers.

Quincy House Master Michael Shinagel and Dunster House Master Liem both said they believed smoking is on the decline.

Both said smoking is not an issue because the numbers of smokers in their houses are very low or practically nonexistent.

The masters from Kirkland and Winthrop Houses could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Cabot House's Ware, who is also Mosteller professor of biostatistics in the School of Public Health, said that regardless of smoking's popularity among students, "schools and colleges have a special responsibility toward young people to discourage cigarette smoking because there is nothing more damaging to one's health than smoking."

He said House masters had the power to change smoking policies in their respective Houses, as long as they have the support of House residents.

"[The smoking policy] is different in the different houses, but in the end, it's up to the various masters," Ware said.

Besides the new smoking ban this fall, first-years are also subject to a ban on halogen lamps.

Ware said he believed upper-class students may have been spared the moratorium on cigarettes and halogen lamps so far because of "custom and tradition," which have always allowed older students to have them.

Dean of Freshmen Elizabeth S. Nathans said in an e-mail that "there is absolutely no connection between our decision with regard to smoking and our decision to ban halogen lamps.

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