This summer, Hopkins will put 'em out Hopkins to ban smoking anywhere, by anyone.

May 02, 1991|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Evening Sun Staff

In a story about a new no-smoking policy at Johns Hopkins University in the May 2 editions of The Evening Sun, remarks attributed to David VandeLinde, dean of the School of Engineering, were actually made by Roger Westgate, chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Westgate had identified himself as VandeLinde in an interview with a reporter. Westgate has apologized for his misrepresentation.

If you get the urge to light up at Johns Hopkins University after July 1, you'd better think twice. Beginning this summer, the institution will enforce the strictest no-smoking policy of any university in Maryland.

Cigarettes, pipes and cigars will be forbidden in all classrooms, hallways, laboratories, offices and restrooms. The ban extends to all university-owned apartment buildings, residence halls, dining areas and even the golf carts and vans used by employees to drive around campus.


"We want to have a smoke-free environment for the health of everybody," said Stanley C. Gabor, dean of the School of Continuing Studies and chairman of a 26-member committee that drafted the smoke-free policy that will affect all Hopkins students and 13,000 employees.

"Five years ago, this would have been a difficult assignment, but so much of the country is moving toward a no-smoking policy, so it was not a difficult thing to do," Gabor said.

Try telling that to the smokers.

"That's their thing, but a lot of people won't go for it," said James Bennett, a custodian. "They'll put signs up that say not to smoke, but they'll find a way to smoke because they got a nicotine fit."

Professor Richard Joseph, a notoriously heavy smoker, has told his colleagues that when the new policy goes into effect, he'll have to retreat into the closet for a smoke.

"I probably won't do any work. I smoke mostly when I'm working hard. It's a conditional thing with me," said Joseph. "It's going to affect me profoundly."

"I believe cigarette smoking does cause cancer," Joseph said. "But I am upset about the policy. It is imposing something on me that should not be imposed on me in the privacy of my office."

"If he had to quit smoking, I think he will commit suicide," John Goutsias, an electrical engineering professor, said of Joseph, his office neighbor.

"He's probably going to lean out of his window and smoke," David VandeLinde, chairman of the civil engineering department, said of Joseph.

The Hopkins plan follows similar smoke-free policies established Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of California at Los Angeles.

The University of Maryland system's 11 campuses allow smoking in designated areas.

VandeLinde, who quit smoking in August 1977 and has missed it ever since, said he wonders how the policy will be enforced at Hopkins. The policy states that deans, directors and senior staff members of the university are to enforce the program.

"If I see a student smoking, I'll say something," VandeLinde said. "But if I see somebody in their 50s who is smoking, that person will be in tough shape to put it out.

For now, custodians are removing all ash trays from the campus and the university is picking up the tab for smoking cessation courses at $25 per volunteer.

It's not a new concept to all Hopkins employees and students, however. The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the university's Schools of Medicine, Hygiene and Public Health, Continuing Studies and Nursing have banned smoking in classrooms and offices since 1988.

"The national trend is toward smoke-free environments," Gabor said. "When Hopkins does it, it has more meaning because we have great strength in medicine and health. It will make people sit up and take notice and others will follow."

Except, of course, for the professor who is sneaking one in the closet.

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