One of the referendum questions on this spring's Duke Student Government election ballot was "Do you favor a residential smoking ban?" With less than half of the campus voting, 57.70% of students said yes and 35.11% said not in favor.
Personal choice--with a roommate's consent--slightly outnumbered the "banners" in our random poll of students, with some prejudice. "As long as your roommate doesn't mind if you smoke, I don't see the problem," said junior Donna Rice, a self-identified smoker. "If it's a conflict, then you resolve it. By the time you get to college, you should be able to resolve conflicts like that. I don't think it's the administration's business."
Tanisha Robinson, a junior, who is "not a fan of smoking," said, "I think a person has the right to smoke in their room. It's not illegal. It's a person's own business if they want to smoke. I am against smoking, but I am also against a smoking ban."
Said freshman, and smoker, Nick Snyder, "I hate it, everyone hates it. If you go to a party on West, everyone is smoking. What are they gonna do? Have police making sure you don't smoke? What's going to be the penalty? I haven't heard much about why we're having this [ban]."
Second-hand smoke was a factor in those favoring the ban. "If there's a health risk to other people by smoking in the dorms, then yes, I'm in favor of it," said junior Jillian Johnson. For first-year student Catherine Roberts, "It bothers me when you can smell smoke in a hall and it infiltrates the dorm rooms. There's no reason you can't go outside to smoke."
Sophomore Gabriel Griffin says he's for the smoking ban. "In general, if individual behavior affects the community in a negative way, I think the community has a right to limit it in some way."