University of California schools, UC San Diego, to go smoke free

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The air in San Diego may have just gotten a little cleaner. University of California (UC) President Mark Yudof announced plans last week to implement a smoking ban on all UC campuses, including UC San Diego, within the next two years.

In a letter to UC campus chancellors, Yudof announced that each of the 10 college campuses throughout the state will be responsible for drafting and executing the smoking ban. While UC campuses currently having on-campus smoking policies, Yudof’s most recent decision is the most far reaching and uniform policy to date. UCSD’s current rules state that individuals may not smoke indoors or within 25 feet of a building.

“As a national leader in healthcare and environmental practices, the University of California is ready to demonstrate leadership in reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke by creating a smoke-free environment on all of our campuses,” Yudof wrote.

Each UC college chancellor is now responsible for forming a committee to create a specific policy for their campus that keeps their unique needs in mind, but effectively promotes the ban. Under the requirements for each policy, smoking, unregulated nicotine and smokeless tobacco products will be banned both indoors and outdoors, including parking lots, and private residential spaces. The policy will apply to students, faculty, and staff. The advertisement and sale of tobacco will also be considered a violation of the smoke-free policy.

Creating a smoke-free policy has been a hot topic at UC Campuses for the past several years, and many schools have already enacted partial, if not full, smoking bans. In fact, all UCSD Health Sciences and Medical Center campuses enacted a smoking ban in Fall 2009. In addition, UCSD operates California Smokers’ Helpline, a free service that helps residents quit smoking.

And while smokers may be up in arms over the ban, recent research finds that they are among the minority. In a Spring 2010 survey conducted by the American College Health Association, 67 percent of UCSD students were in favor of smoking regulations. According to Yudof’s letter, the UC system’s smoke-free policy will add them to the list of 586 other smoke-free college campuses throughout the nation. UCSD alone claims more than 29,000 students, and it is the hope of administrators that instituting the smoke-free policy will help all UC campuses stand out as health and environmental leaders.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Scott McLeod

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