University of Illinois’ Urbana Campus to Implement Smoking Ban
By Sean Powers
The University of Illinois’ Urbana campus will become smoke free by Nov. 2013.
Chancellor Phyllis Wise announced the ban on Wednesday, as part of a Student Senate resolution voted on last November. Wise said the smoking ban is about changing the campus culture, noting that smoking is a dangerous addiction, and secondhand smoke impacts everyone.
Smoking is already prohibited within 15 feet from a building entrance, but this ban would also affect all sporting and entertainment events.
The ban applies to everyone.
U of I Wellness Center Director Michele Guerra said the plan came from 70-percent of students favoring the ban, and an ad-hoc committee formed by the chancellor. But she said it remains to be seen how the plan will be enforced and communicated.
“We’re in the process of conducting stakeholder meetings, so that we can get feedback from all different groups from faculty staff and students,” Guerra said. “We are exploring how to expand our tobacco cessation programs. Enforcement is certainly important, but there are a lot of other things that are at least equally important.”
Champaign-Urbana Public Health Administrator Julie Pryde said the U of I is taking the lead, and serving as an example for other schools. She said enforcing the ban could mimic the way park district handle similar bans.
“If someone is caught smoking, they ask them to please extinguish their smoking materials, and then if they don’t they point to the policy. Then if they don’t, they can move beyond that, calling the police,” Pryde said. “I know some of the places I’ve talked to have never needed to do that.”
Funds from a ‘We Choose Health’ state grant and C-U Public Health will go to hire a graduate student to coordinate the smoke-free effort.
Guerra said the U of I will set up subcommittees of faculty, staff and students who will hammer out other details related to the ban.