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Campus-wide smoking ban to be considered

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The days of being able to take a smoke break between classes might be coming to an end at Ohio State. Higher Education officials are planning to vote on a campus-wide smoking ban Monday.

The current university policy bans any smoking indoors and prohibits smoking outdoors within 25 feet of any building entrance or window. The policy is similar to the statewide Ohio regulation passed in 2006, which banned smoking in all enclosed workplaces, including but not limited to bars and restaurants.

Chairman James Tuschman of the Ohio Board of Regents, a governor-appointed board made up of nine people who advise on higher education issues of statewide importance, plans to introduce the smoke-free resolution at their July 23 meeting.

The resolution would not be a binding OSU policy, it would have to be enforced by the university Board of Trustees, who aren’t scheduled to meet again until Aug. 30.

The idea of a smoke-free, or even tobacco-free, campus is not new at OSU.

President E. Gordon Gee told The Lantern in April 2010 that would like to see a smoke-free OSU.

“A smoke-free campus is not at the top of my priority list, but if someone came to me with a proposal and we could make that happen quickly, I would be the first in line,” Gee said.

Students have made efforts in the past to push the university towards a stricter tobacco policy. Public health graduate student Danielle Grospitch started a Buckeyes Against Butts campaign and has been an advocate for a tobacco-free campus during her time at OSU.

Grospitch said the university needs to prove their commitment to health and wellness.

“Whether the vote passes on Monday or not, OSU is still capable of enforcing a stronger policy than the one that currently exists,” said Grospitch in an email Friday. “Honestly anything would be better than what we have.”

Several Ohio universities have passed smoking bans, including Miami University, Malone College, Mount Vernon Nazarene College, and Ohio Christian University, according to findings by the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. Miami University is the only public university in Ohio on that list.

According to a July 1 ANRF release, there are currently 774 smoke-free campuses, and 562 of those are tobacco-free campuses, including an additional ban on smokeless-tobacco.

Among Big Ten schools, OSU would be joining Penn State, the University of Michigan, Indiana University, and the University of Iowa if the smoke-free resolution is adopted by the Board of Trustees.

Despite Gee’s vision, the student body has traditionally been divided regarding the implementation of a campus-wide smoking ban.

“For someone addicted to smoking, it would be really hard,” said Mengyu Liu, a fourth-year in biomedical engineering. “There should be a limited area for those people to smoke.”

Others were in favor of the ban.

“I grew up with a parent who smoked, and it disgusts me, even outside,” said Cally McGee, a fourth-year in anthropology.

McGee said she isn’t confident the ban would be enforced.

According to reports from the Associated Press, representatives from the Ohio Board of Regents will meet with officials from the Cleveland Clinic and the state Department of Health to plan a discussion of the proposed resolution before the vote Monday.

 

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