Year later, Widener is still smoke-free

While a growing number of colleges and universities across the nation have started to ban smoking on campus, most local colleges have not gotten on board.

At least 530 schools prohibit smoking indoors and outdoors as a way to promote healthier lifestyles, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. In Chester City, Widener University has been smoke-free for about a year. In fact, the school has outlawed all tobacco products.

Widener spokesman Dan Hanson said the university announced the initiative in 2009 and gave students, faculty and staff a year to prepare by offering smoking cessation courses and other programs.

“We’ve received a number of calls from colleges and universities throughout the U.S. that are considering similar initiatives, so they’re taking a look at how Widener’s initiative has gone in that first year,” Hanson said.

At Temple, University of Penn and Drexel, smoking indoors is prohibited — but anyone can light up outside.

“We, unlike a lot of other campuses, have lots of city streets and sidewalks going through the campus, and those are not Temple property,” explained Temple spokesman Hillel Hoffmann. “We cannot ban smoking on a city of Philadelphia street or city of Philadelphia sidewalk.”

Student reaction on the topic is mixed.

“If they ban it then people are going to be mad,” said smoker Judy Zhang, a freshman at Temple. But, she added, “If I couldn’t then I wouldn’t do it.”

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