Tobacco ban hits campus

| Staff Reporter
An unidentified student smokes a cigarette just outside of campus property.Lauren Patrick

An unidentified student smokes a cigarette just outside of campus property. Thanks to the July 1 tobacco ban, students must now go off campus to smoke.

As of July 1, Washington University is officially smoke-free. The University announced the tobacco ban in April 2009.

The ban’s implementation has proceeded smoothly so far, according to chief of police Don Strom.

“From the WUPD perspective, we have had very few complaints to respond to and we have no new enforcement patrols planned at this time,” Strom said.

Disciplinary actions for tobacco ban violations, while not preferred, will be implemented if necessary. Such responses would be tailored to individual constituencies within the community, such as students, faculty and staff.

According to Dr. Alan Glass, director of Student Health Services (SHS), and Ann Prenatt, vice chancellor for human resources, who are co-chairpersons for the University’s tobacco-free initiative, the policy is mainly based on a principle of self-enforcement.

“We hope for voluntary compliance with this University policy,” Prenatt said. “Enforcement of the tobacco-free policy is not exclusively the responsibility of the campus police.  In fact, we each have a responsibility to comply with this policy and enforce its terms.”

In order to facilitate the ban’s enforcement, the University has begun a communications campaign to provide key messages about the ban to the community.

Advertisements for the ban include decals on building doors and banners that will be hung on Oak Alley and on the South 40.

With the implementation of the ban, smokers face new challenges. According to Dr. Betsy Foy, assistant director of Student Health Services (SHS), resources are available to help them quit if they choose to do so.

“SHS is making readily available to students smoking cessation services either at Student Health Services or students can look at the Aetna Health Insurance Page and will find the phone number to call for smoking cessation assistance,” Foy said.

Services available include counseling and selected medications and nicotine replacements, available free of charge.