By Christopher Exantus
Smoking on campus is a common sight. Students can often be found enjoying a cigarette with their groups of friends or simply sitting outside the steps of their dorms puffing away. Rider University is no exception.
According to a 2010 report from the American Health College Association, 14.9 percent of students smoked cigarettes on campus in the last 30 days. In the same report, 82.7 percent routinely saw other students engaged in smoking.
Smoking in public has gained more attention in recent years due to concerns about the health risks involved with second-hand smoke. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claimed that over 126 million people are exposed to the harmful effects of second-hand smoking on a daily basis.
Andrew Jemas, a freshman, used a hyperbolic comment to explain the situation at Rider.
“If you take a portion of the standard population, and another chunk from Rider, more people on Rider smoke,” he said.
Alexa Ortiz, a junior, noticed the smokers hanging outside all the time, usually on the stairs.
Technically, students are not allowed to smoke near school buildings. According to Rider University’s handbook, smokers are told to stay 25 feet away from any school building while smoking.
Eric Cottrell, a resident adviser in Hill Hall, claimed that students typically smoke around the dormitories. He said he often has to remind students, “even in the corner of the building, [they] have to be 25 feet away.”
Other Rider students agreed that the rule is often ignored.
“It’s worth having,” freshman Jake Tuff said. “It’s better than nothing at all, but people do not follow the rule.”
Tuff has distaste for cigarettes, as he finds the smell problematic.
“There’s not a place where you can go where people aren’t smoking,” he said.
However, despite agreeing about the abundance of smokers on campus, the majority of students do not share the same disgust for cigarette smoke.
When asked whether people smoking in public is bothersome, both Yancarlo Rivera, a freshman transfer, and Youness Azzamok, a sophomore, did not seem to mind other students smoking in front of them. Ortiz said she finds herself forced to tolerate the smoking.
“I don’t like it, but I can’t do anything about it,” she said.