Smoking Ban in Atrium has 500 Puffers Fuming

Smokers sign petition opposing ban on smoking in the atrium in the Administration Building

Five hundred smokers have signed a petition opposing the ban on smoking in the atrium in the Administration Building. UCalgary students and staff who like to puff signed the document which was delivered to Keith Winter, VP (finance & services), and Martin Kirk, manager of Safety Services, shortly before Christmas.

"As of yet, we have had no response," says Sheryl Johnston, Financial Services staff member and spokesperson for the angry smokers.

The atrium became officially cigarette-free on Jan. 1. Employees in areas adjacent to the atrium were complaining about the effects of second-hand smoke so the University Health, Safety and Security Committee, took action. The atrium wasn't designed as a smoking area and the air handling system does not provide air quality to meet building code standards without major upgrades.

"A good percentage of students and staff are smokers," says Johnston. "The decision is not very fair for us."

The Black Lounge in MacEwan Hall and campus bars are currently the only on-campus venues for smoking. "That's pretty far way for those of us who work in Sciences and Administration Buildings," says Johnston, "and the Black Lounge is mostly only used by students."

It took a week for Johnston and pals to collect the 500 smokers' signatures. If the anti-smoking atrium ruling is not reversed, the petitioners ask that an alternate area, centrally located on campus, be assigned as a smoking area.

Originally posted in the Gazette, Jan. 13, 1996