If you ever wonder why you see fellow students ducked into doorways and sitting on the sides flower beds away from the doors of the dorms at Columbia College, check out the Chicago Clean Air Ordinance. If you don’t want to read all of that, here is the gist of it. Passed in January of 2008, the Clean Air Ordinance prohibits smoking within all campus facilities and within 15 feet of any building entrance. This law was passed in order to protect students, patrons, and workers from the harmful effects of tobacco and secondhand smoke. Security officers are told to inform the college of violations with the policy, and if students and staff do not comply, college disciplinary action will be taken. This is why “No Smoking” signs can be seen posted on the front of all campus buildings and dorms.
When I first arrived at Columbia College our dormitory floor (Dwight) had a meeting on the first night. One of the things I was told by my RA was that if we were smokers, we have to be at least 15 feet away from the dorm entrance. Since he knew that we would not be measuring our steps on our way out to smoke a cigarette, he added that the appropriate locations are by Subway or by the creepy vacant building. While I see most students comply, I have also seen my fair amount of smokers stand just outside of the dorms. This leads me to questioning why we can’t walk 15 feet away and also why the security officers rarely ever tell students to move.