UC President Mark G. Yudof announced that the UC system will launch an official campaign to make all 10 UC campuses smoke-free by 2014.
Yudof formally announced the decision to prohibit smoking in a letter addressing all UC chancellors last month. In October, a subcommittee of the UC Occupational Wellness Forum proposed banning cigarettes as well as all other tobacco-related goods such as smokeless e-cigarettes and other nicotine products. In addition, all advertising for tobacco will be prohibited on all university-owned and leased facilities.
Currently, five UC medical centers and 586 other college campuses nationwide are smoke-free.
In the letter announcing his decision, Yudof said smoke-free campuses would prevent nonsmoking students from suffering the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, ultimately benefiting all students.
“As a national leader in health care 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 said in the letter.
According to UC Office of the President Spokesperson Dianne Klein, all campuses will be appointed committees to determine how the new protocol will be implemented and what charges to enforce for policy violations. Klein said chancellors will also be responsible for enacting such policies and ensuring violations result in fair penalties.
“Through the systemwide policy, each chancellor will have the freedom to enact a smoke-free policy on their campuses within the next two years,” Klein said. “However, as the letter stated, all UC smoke-free policies should emphasize an educational enforcement.”
UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang said he plans to meet with a number of campus staff members and administrators to determine local restrictions.
“Each chancellor has been asked to form a committee charged with the task of implementing a smoke-free policy on their campus,” Yang said in an email. “I will be consulting with our administrators, faculty, students and staff on the formation of this committee and our next steps as we move forward with this task.”
Within the past few years, UC health officials have recommended numerous smoke-free initiatives to UC administrators, according to UCSB Student Health Director Elizabeth Downing.
“All 10 student health directors had signed a document urging no smoking on campus in 2007, and again in spring of 2010,” Downing said. “Some things we can use in moderation, like caffeine, but firsthand and secondhand smoke is never good for anybody.”
Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Wellness at UC San Diego Karen Calfas, who submitted the smoke-free policy proposal made last October, said the university should implement the ban to improve health, reduce health care costs and create a cleaner environment. According to Calfas, the ban is an accurate reflection of healthy practices within the UC system.
“The University of California is a leader in health care and environmental practices,” Calfas said. “Reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke is important to promote the health and well-being of students, staff, faculty, patients and visitors.”
Third-year chemical engineering major Felipe Mendoza said the ban should not be enacted because UC campuses are publicly funded and lack the authority to make and enforce such regulations.
“We’re old enough to make our own decisions and the UC is a public institution,” Mendoza said. “[The UC system] should not be discriminating against anyone.”
Since existing state laws ban smoking in a number of public areas, UC campus grounds can and should abide by the same regulations, according to Klein.
Jennifer Lande, a third-year communication major, said while efforts to prevent secondhand smoke and promote a more eco-friendly environment are admirable, the new policy implements restrictions beyond what is necessary.
“Secondhand smoke is really disrespectful so it seems fine to ban cigarettes,” Lande said. “But UCSB should not ban smokeless products such as electronic cigarettes because that is more of a personal choice of the substance you use.”
Currently, UC San Francisco is the only UC already implementing a smoke-free policy.