Houses May Join Yard in Banning Indoor Smoking

Cabot, Dunster, Eliot Contemplate New Restrictions

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.

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