KU doesn't plan to join other colleges in banning tobacco use across all campuses
- on September 12, 2012
A growing number of college campuses are implementing campuswide bans on tobacco use.
The University of Oklahoma, the University of Oregon and Montana State University are among those that have enacted bans this year, and there are more with plans to do so, including the University of Missouri. MU’s campuswide tobacco-free policy will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
Such policies are part of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ strategic action plan to curb tobacco use, which is the leading cause of premature and preventable death in the nation. It causes 443,000 deaths each year.
As of July 1, there were 774 college campuses that had banned smoking, including 562 that had banned all tobacco use, according to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.
Kansas University is sort of in the middle.
Tim Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs, said Wednesday that KU implemented campuswide bans on tobacco use at its medical campuses in Kansas City and Wichita in September 2006.
“Tobacco use is prohibited both inside and outside of the buildings — anywhere considered to be a part of the campus property,” he said. “It’s for everybody — faculty, staff, employees, students, contractors, patients, guests — at every location on those campuses.”
However, on the main Lawrence campus and the Edwards campus in Overland Park, the tobacco policy follows Kansas regulations, which means no smoking within and near campus buildings, which includes the Kansas Union, Adams Alumni Center and student housing. The use of chewing tobacco is allowed in student housing, and at Memorial Stadium, smoking and tobacco use are allowed, but only in designated areas.
Anyone who violates KU’s tobacco policies could face fines ranging from $100 to $500, and students and staff could face disciplinary actions, including termination of employment.
Caboni said KU does not plan to implement a campuswide ban on tobacco use.
“We think the policy right now is serving us well, and there’s been no conversation around changing that,” he said. “We ask that individuals who choose to use tobacco do it in a way that’s respectful for the community and their peers. That means not smoking in or near entrances to buildings, and just being aware of their surroundings and the folks that their choice is affecting.”
KU does not sell tobacco products on any of its campuses, and it offers smoking cessation assistance for its students and employees.
“One of the things that we know is choosing to smoke tobacco is not a choice that we want folks to make. We know the long-term health implications of that, and so we have support systems for those individuals who are trying to quit,” he said. “As a former smoker myself, I know how helpful those can be.”