WVU smoking ban causes headaches for others

West Virginia University's new smoking ban is causing headaches for residents and businesses near its campuses.

Sarah Zegre said that crowds of WVU employees now sit in her front yard or on the sidewalks in the morning smoking cigarettes. Some leave cigarette butts and the crates that they sit on outside her home.


She told the council that she and her 1-year-old daughter go outside daily at about 7:30 a.m. to meet the day and say good morning to the world.


"But now at 7:30 in the morning we are not only saying good morning to the birds and the trees, but we're saying good morning to gaggles of smokers — legitimate WVU employees — crowds of smokers sitting in our front yard, on the sidewalks smoking cigarettes. As we are not smokers, and we're also in our PJs, it's suddenly something that I don't want to do," she said.


To keep some privacy, her family no longer leaves windows open in their home.


"Because they're sitting right outside on the sidewalks, they get to be a part of three meals a day with the Zegre household," she said.


Zegre said that she supports the smoking ban but that she believes the ban is degrading to WVU employees.


"These are legitimate employees of the university and, although I would never have expected to be an advocate of a smoker. ... I think that WVU employees and even students when they come back in the fall are going to need a legitimate place to smoke."


City manager Jeff Mikorski said that the city has heard a number of similar concerns.


The ban, which went into effect July 1, prohibits the use of use tobacco products on WVU property or "any street, road or thoroughfare immediately adjacent to or passing through WVU-owned property."


Because the ban is recent, Mikorski said the city has not had any interaction with the university on the matter.

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