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UD to designate on-campus smoking areas

The University of Dayton will designate eight smoking areas on its main campus starting Aug. 1, the first step in a strategy toward a smoke-free school, UD officials said.

The President’s Council made the decision to implement designated smoking areas on campus after hosting information sessions with the UD Student Government Association.

“The decision was motivated out of a desire to create a healthier work and study environment and is widely supported across campus,” said Teri Rizvi, associate vice president for university communications.

Approval of the decision from the board of trustees was not needed, she said.

A total of 13 smoking structures will be available: eight on the main campus, two at the 1700 South Patterson Building, two near UD Arena and one at the Shroyer Park Center.

The structures cost the university $60,000 and will be installed on campus before the start of the fall semester, Rizvi said.

“We believe the new policy is responsive to the desires of our campus community,” she said. “A number of Ohio universities are to either smoke-free or designated smoking areas.”

In July 2012, the Ohio Board of Regents voted to encourage the prohibition of all tobacco products on public campuses. Cedarville University and Miami University have campus-wide bans, while the University of Cincinnati and Ohio State University are reviewing their policies.

UD officials developed a “comprehensive” communications and marketing campaign to inform students of the policy change. Along with posters in residence and dining halls, signs will be posted to direct smokers to designated areas.

Cigarette smoking on campus is a frequent topic of discussion among UD students, but the school community as a whole doesn’t necessarily share one stance on where smoking is appropriate on university property, said Nate Sevier, a third-year international studies student.

Sevier said smokers on campus are typically respectful when choosing where to smoke.

“Our campus is tight-knit, and intelligent, too,” he said.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, 27 percent of people ages 18 to 24 in the U.S. are smokers, and 28 percent of college-aged smokers became regular smokers after starting college.

Nearly two-third of UD students support a smoke-free campus, but designated smoking areas received greater support from both smokers and non-smokers on campus, according to an online student survey conducted in March 2012.

“Most students do not smoke, according to the online survey,” Rizvi said.

While UD officials look at the designated smoking areas as the first step toward a campus-wide ban, no decision or timeline has been made for a stricter policy to be enacted.

Violations will be handled through standard disciplinary procedures, Rizvi said, and enforcement of the policy is a community responsibility.

Joe Bracken, a third-year marketing student, said students frequently smoke on campus and it will be hard to enforce the new policy.

“I definitely notice a lot of people going outside in between classes (to smoke), and sometimes even during classes people would take a quick smoke break,” he said. “I feel like the students will smoke outside the areas due to the lack of people enforcing the (policy).”

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