Smoke out: Area colleges, universities ban, discourage tobacco use

2012-11-26T23:45:00Z 2012-11-27T07:58:03Z Smoke out: Area colleges, universities ban, discourage tobacco useLU ANN FRANKLIN Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 26, 2012 11:45 pm  • 

Smokers are finding fewer places to light up on area college and university campuses, and those who defy certain smoking bans face fines.

Post-secondary institutions in Indiana prohibited smoking and/or all tobacco use four or more years before Indiana’s State Smoke Free Law took effect on July 1.

Unlike their downstate counterparts, Hammond’s Purdue University Calumet and Indiana University Northwest in Gary don’t have any designated smoking areas with receptacles on campus.

“We claim to be a tobacco-free campus. Our challenge is to enforce it,” said Wes Lukoshus, assistant vice chancellor for advancement/university relations.

PUC staff and students are allowed to smoke in their vehicles or on the public sidewalk that surrounds the campus, Lukoshus said.

However, sidewalks, parking lots, open spaces and on-campus student housing are among the places off limits for tobacco use, he said.

To discourage any tobacco use, those caught smoking can be fined $50 per incident.

The prohibition against tobacco sales and use on university-owned, -operated, -or leased property and vehicles includes but isn’t limited to smoking, according to the Indiana University Northwest Tobacco-Free Policy.

“IU Northwest was one of the first IU schools to implement this (smoke-free) policy, which took effect on our campus in August 2007,” said Emily Banas, assistant director of marketing and communications.

“The IU Northwest Tobacco-Free Campus policy enables students, faculty, staff, and visitors to preserve their health by providing an environment where people can work, learn and study free from risks associated with tobacco use,” Banas said.

Violations by IUN faculty are referred to the Office of Academic Affairs; to human resources for staff members and to the Office of Student Services for students.

Valparaiso University and the Ivy Tech Community College campuses in East Chicago, Gary, Michigan City and Valparaiso are considered 100 percent tobacco-free, according to the American Non-Smokers’ Rights Foundation website, www.no-smoke.org.

In Illinois, a statewide ban on smoking in all public places and workplaces, including educational institutions, went into effect Jan. 1, 2008, according to www.smoke-free.illinois.gov. However, that law allows smoking outdoors, which most local Illinois colleges allow.

At South Suburban College in South Holland, smoking is allowed outdoors, 15 feet from building entrances, as is required by state law, said Patrick Rush, spokesman for the community college. Receptacles are placed 15 feet from building entrances, too.

The college implemented its smoking policy in fall 2002. Before that, smoking was allowed in designated areas and in private offices but not in classrooms or other parts of buildings.

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