September 5, 2002
To Members of the Bowdoin Community:
A healthy and safe campus is important to all of us at Bowdoin College. That's why the time has come for all college buildings to be "smoke-free." For the safety and wellness of each of us — as well as to comply with Maine law — smoking is no longer permitted in any college building, including all student residence halls, apartments, and the College Houses. I ask those who smoke to do so outdoors, at least 50 feet from a building entrance and away from open windows. I also ask that smokers dispose of cigarettes in an appropriate manner. For those who would like to quit smoking, the College stands ready to assist you.
After reviewing college medical data, I am convinced that the elimination of indoor smoke will be beneficial to us all. As many of you know, environmental tobacco smoke, or "second hand smoke," is classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a "Class A carcinogen." In other words, it is a substance known to cause cancer, with no safe level of exposure. In fact, environmental tobacco smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in this country. Further, Maine law does not permit smoking in indoor workplaces, except in very specially engineered and ventilated spaces. The Maine statute does not cover student residences. However, college survey data indicate that while very few of our students arrive on campus as smokers, a significant number become smokers while here. Some experiment with "social smoking," which greatly increases the chance that they will become addicted to nicotine. Restricting smoking in all our student residences should dramatically decrease the number of students who would otherwise become addicted. It should also greatly reduce the risk of fire in these buildings.
I realize that it can be very difficult for some smokers to quit. That's why I have asked Dr. Jeff Benson, director of health services, and Tama Spoerri, director of human resources, to develop a college-funded smoking cessation program for students and employees ready to participate. Additional information on this program will be made available in the next few days. The College does not mean to try to force its students or employees to quit smoking. For those who choose to continue smoking, and for those who have difficulty quitting, I simply ask that you smoke outdoors in a manner that does not affect others. Thank you for your cooperation.