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SUNY trustees push for tobacco free campuses

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Albany/HV: SUNY trustees push for tobacco free campuses
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SUNY trustees are calling for tobacco free campuses. As YNN’s Venise Toussaint tells us, they've passed a resolution, but not everyone is on board.

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. -- Lighting up on a SUNY campus may soon be illegal. State University of New York Board of Trustees has passed a resolution to ban the use of tobacco anywhere on campus grounds.

“We’re on an open campus. It’s state property, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t be able to as long as we abide by the rules,” said SUNY New Paltz employee David Ferris.

The resolution would include all 64 SUNY campuses statewide. Trustees cite health concerns as well as safety as reasons for their decision.

In the resolution, they highlight studies that show young people ages 18 to 24 have the highest smoking rates of all adults. The trustees also note that smoking increases the risks of fires.

“I think that it’s kind of someone’s right to be able to smoke outside if they want to but I understand when people choose not to smoke then they shouldn’t have to inhale that,” said Bailey Weinstein, a student at SUNY New Paltz.

New Paltz, like all other SUNY campuses, currently prohibits smoking inside buildings, dorms or other facilities, but allows it outside. However, officials like Judy Eurich support a complete smoking ban.

“We really do support anything that is going to help the wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff,” said Judy Eurich, SUNY New Paltz Media Relations Manager.

Not outlined in the resolution is enforcement.

“People do rebel and I think that people will start doing it and it will become an issue,” said New Paltz student Pamela Weatherly.

The resolution will now go to the legislature for its vote before going to Governor Cuomo. If passed, SUNY would become the country’s largest public university system to adopt such a ban.

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