Campus doubtful of smoking ban initiative
As Washington voters prepare to cast their ballots tomorrow, some members of the UW community may be enjoying their last cigarette on the steps outside class buildings.
Initiative 901, popularly known as "the smoking ban," would outlaw smoking in all public places, including restaurants and bars.
The initiative would also prohibit smoking outdoors within 25 feet of any doorway or first-story window, making popular smoking locations like the entrances of the Suzzallo and Odegaard libraries off-limits.
Some UW community members said they think the ban is a great idea to reduce secondhand smoke, but doubt it will pass.
The restrictions on smoking outside will kill the initiative at the polls, said Louisa Edgerly, a graduate student in communication.
"I think it's awesome, but I wish it was better written," Edgerly said. "That's a shame they designed it so poorly."
Jonathan Day, the manager of the University Book Store's HUB branch, said he just doesn't see the proposed law being enforceable -- especially not its 25-foot rule.
"I just have to laugh," Day said. "It's one of those things that as far as law enforcement goes, they're going to look at it and say, 'Hey, we've got enough on our plate.'"
One problem is most spots more than 25 feet away from a building offer no protection from the elements, said Ian Duncan, manager of the HUB Newsstand. Duncan said he would not comply with the ban if it meant getting wet.
"Smoking in the rain kind of sucks," he said. "I go out on the deck [behind the HUB] to smoke, and that's within 25 feet. It's the only place that's dry. Are they going to kick me out of there? Because I'm going to keep doing it."
The 25-foot clause is an even greater problem on strips like University Way, where businesses are extremely close together, said Scott Davenport, a junior working as a bouncer at Tommy's on the Ave. last Friday.
Smokers on the Ave. would have to light up in the middle of the street to be 25 feet away from an entrance, Davenport said. Prohibiting smoking inside the bars is equally problematic, he added.
"That's one reason people go out to bars -- so they can smoke and drink at the same time," Davenport said. "This won't pass. There [are] too many people who smoke."
But the issue isn't purely a battle between people who smoke and people who don't. Some smokers said they support the ban.
"People should be able to breathe clean air," said sophomore Paige Fukuhara. "I think that's reasonable."
In California, where Fukuhara is from, smoking is already banned in bars. The states of Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island also prohibit smoking in bars and restaurants.
Furthermore, "25 feet is not that far away," Fukuhara said.