UCLA will adopt a tobacco-free policy starting in April ““ a move that has garnered mixed reviews from the UCLA community.
The ban will apply to all tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, oral tobacco and electronic cigarettes on university owned and leased property, Chancellor Gene Block said in an email to members of the UCLA community on Tuesday. It will go into effect on April 22, 2013, which is celebrated as Earth Day around the world.
“Becoming tobacco-free is integral to our ultimate goal of becoming the healthiest college campus in the country,” Block said in the email.
UCLA’s Tobacco-Free Steering Committee recommended the ban, following a request from University of California President Mark Yudof earlier this year encouraging all UC campuses to implement a tobacco-free policy by January 2014.
“The predominant method of implementation is education and being a good citizen,” said Linda Sarna, a professor of nursing who serves as chair of the Academic Senate and the Tobacco-Free Task Force, which is overseeing the policy change.
“We are not looking to have a heavy police presence (implementing the ban),” Sarna said.
The student code of conduct will be revised to reflect the new ban, she said.
The university also plans to offer resources for current smokers to help them transition to the campus-wide change, such as free nicotine replacement starter kits, and peer support and counseling, according to Block’s email.
UCLA is the first UC campus to announce an entirely tobacco-free policy and is among more than 800 other colleges and universities which have tobacco-free or smoke-free policies, Block said in the email.
Fourth-year psychology student Michael Smith has asthma, which is often aggravated by cigarette smoke.
Sarna said there will be no designated smoking areas on campus when the ban goes into effect.
Erick Ruiz, a third-year computer science student, said he does not smoke but is against the ban.
“I think it’s kind of infringing on people’s rights,” Ruiz said. “They should have designated areas for people to smoke.”
This is not the first step that UCLA has taken toward a tobacco-free campus. Starting earlier this quarter all university-owned apartments instituted a smoke-free policy that banned smokers living in the apartments from smoking on the properties, the Daily Bruin reported in March.
The UCLA Health System went smoke-free last year.
A draft of the new policy will be available for students, faculty and staff to review on Nov. 15, Sarna said.