To the Editor:

We were extremely disappointed with the coverage of our recent advertising campaign featuring the men’s basketball team which appeared in the the Yale Daily News (“Smoke-free season for basketball,” 10/18).

Despite criticisms of the Smoke Free program as “high school,” cigarette smoking remains the leading preventable cause of death in America, and trying to prevent illness is not “like a joke.” While we are grateful for the basketball team’s cooperation in extending our message out to the Yale community, the decision of some of the members of the basketball team and the student body to belittle the importance of smoking cessation programs and advertisements is to belittle the enormous impact smoking and secondhand smoke can have on the health of college students. Smoking damages the health of smokers and those subjected to secondhand smoke. Furthermore, smoke travels freely through college dorms, damaging dorm rooms themselves, and smoking is the number one cause of civilian fire deaths.

Most importantly, Yale students should encourage the University to adopt a smoke-free dorm policy. They should help student smokers to quit by participating in the Campus-Wide Smoke-Out on Nov. 14 in Commons. The Smoke Free @ Yale program involves much more than simply the basketball posters, and we are disappointed in the reporter’s decision not to present a more balanced view of the campaign by talking with any of the Student Health Educators.

Amal Bass ’03, Jacque Farber ’03 and Samira Nazem ’04

October 21, 2002

The writers are coordinators of the Smoke Free @ Yale program.