Study shows smoking dorms breed new smokers
(U-WIRE) ORONO, Maine -- Many colleges and universities will be paying close attention to a recent study concerning smoke-free dormitories. The Harvard School of Public Health completed a survey examining the smoking behaviors of 4,495 students at 101 sch
The Harvard study revealed that "college students who live in smoke-free dorms are 40 percent less likely to be smokers than their counterparts who live in unrestricted housing."
The University of Maine offers smoke-free living now. In the fall of 2001, the number of completely smoke-free residence halls will be increased to 12.
"There is no plan in place for UMaine to go completely smoke-free as of yet but the number of residence halls that are smoke-free have increased over the years," Barbara Smith, director of Residence Life and Programs, said.
Those involved in the Harvard study felt the increasing urge to smoke upon entering college could be increased by living in smoking dorms.
"The college years are a time for transition in smoking behavior of young people because many are experimenting with tobacco, others are starting to smoke regularly and still others are trying to quit," Nancy Rigotti, M.D., an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, said.
The study also reported that 44 percent of students live in smoke-free dorms, while another 29 percent do not live in them but would like to. Smith said University of Maine tries to give students appropriate housing for their preferences.
"We have a responsibility to honor those with a smoke-free lifestyle," she said.
Dr. Henry Wecshler, principal director of College Alcohol Studies at the Harvard School of Public Health, claims "smoke-free dorms may help incoming students who have not yet begun smoking to avoid tobacco".
Curtis Burrill, a resident assistant at UMaine backs up that claim.
"I have noticed at least four residents of mine who are freshmen pick up smoking since they have been attending school here," he said.
(C) 2001 The Maine Campus via U-WIRE