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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Campus hookah rules have students confused

    Pre-business freshman Sean Moran and pre-physiology freshman Roxanna Hobbi smoked hookah late last night at Espresso Art, 944 E. University Blvd. Smoking hookah may soon be banned on campus because of concerns about drug use and smoking in dorms.
    Pre-business freshman Sean Moran and pre-physiology freshman Roxanna Hobbi smoked hookah late last night at Espresso Art, 944 E. University Blvd. Smoking hookah may soon be banned on campus because of concerns about drug use and smoking in dorms.

    A potential ban of hookah on campus has left some UA students angry over indecisiveness and threats to their freedom.

    Some UA students said they have been told that hookah, a Middle Eastern smoking method, is or will soon be illegal on the UA campus.

    “”Originally, they told us as long as we smoke on the second deck, 50 feet from the doors, we could smoke hookah,”” said Christina Basso-Williams, an undeclared freshman.

    Williams said she smokes with her friends outside Kaibab-Huachuca Residence Hall. “”One night when we were smoking hookah, a (resident assistant) came up to us and told us what we were doing was illegal and we couldn’t smoke hookah on campus, and the hookah was considered drug paraphernalia.””

    Officer Andrew Valenzuela of the University of Arizona Police Department said that hookah is allowed on campus.

    “”Nothing has come up about (hookah) in the last few meetings,”” Valenzuela said. “”The only problem we’ve had with it is when students smoke then inside the dorms, which is not allowed. If they are used for their intended purpose, we have no problem with it.””

    Valenzuela said hookah may become an issue in the future.

    “”It may be something in the works, but there is nothing official yet,”” Valenzuela said. “”It is completely up to Residence Life.””

    Other students who have been approached and warned for their hookah use said they are angry about the confusion.

    “”Hookah is a very relaxing hobby and very soothing,”” said veterinary science freshman Ryan Cohen. “”If they’re going to ban hookah, they’re banning the wrong activity.””

    Matthew Riley, a creative writing junior, says the ban is only a rumor and that several smaller restrictions may have sparked them.

    “”You can’t bring your hookah inside,”” Riley said. “”It is considered paraphernalia. Students have the option of keeping them in their cars, but they cannot be brought into the dorms.””

    Cohen is against any restriction on hookah as a whole.

    “”Hookah isn’t being abused,”” Cohen said. “”We’re not smoking weed out of hookahs. Drug paraphernalia is a bong or a pipe. We’re using hookah for tobacco.””

    While Cohen and his friends may be using hookahs for their intended purpose, Riley hinted that other students may not be following their example.

    “”I know that some people have smoked marijuana out of their hookahs,”” Riley said. “”It can still be used as paraphernalia.””

    Cohen pointed out that cigarettes and rolling papers can be used to smoke marijuana, but campus has no intention of banning cigarettes.

    I was a little upset because they told us once it was OK, and then a week later they said that it wasn’t. I just wish they’d make up their minds instead of changing it constantly and getting us in trouble.
    – Christina Basso-Williams, undeclared freshman

    “”They may as well ban (cigarettes) first,”” Cohen said. “”Hookah is much healthier than cigarettes. It’s close to 3 percent tobacco and mostly molasses. Smoking for three hours with your friends is less harmful than smoking a pack of cigarettes with them.””

    Williams said she just wants a straight answer from campus officials.

    “”I was a little upset because they told us once it was OK, and then a week later they said that it wasn’t. I just wish they’d make up their minds instead of changing it constantly and getting us in trouble.””

    Cohen said he worries that if hookah is eventually stripped from the UA campus, a large portion of the college experience will go with it.

    “”Hookah enhances the college atmosphere,”” Cohen said. “”To take away hookah would destroy a very social aspect of this university.””

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