A new smoking ban at a local nursing school is stirring up controversy. The health department is all for it, but some students say it takes away their rights.
Nursing students at Rhode Island College have been warned not to use any tobacco products on campus, and that's not all. If they're wearing their uniforms off–campus, tobacco–use is also banned.
You won't see cigarette butts lying around at the Fogarty Life Science Building at Rhode Island College. There are "no smoking" signs are on the doors.
"It's hard for us to promote health if we're you know smoking," said nursing student Elizabeth Pare.
She's on board with the smoking ban, but student smoker Mike Allanson doesn't agree.
"I would much more prefer the nursing department say we request for these reasons," he said, "This is the United States of America, where if I want to smoke, and pollute my body, it's my God given right."
Even if students disagree, the school said they're obeying the new ban. The health department just gave the nursing program an award for its smoke–free policy.
"Among all health professionals, more nurses smoke than any other health professional," said Rhode Island Health Department Director Michael Fine, "If we want, from a public health perspective, to be telling people not to smoke then health professionals need not to smoke as well."