UVU clears the smoke on tobacco policies

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Faculty members received an email earlier this month reminding them to abide by and regulate the campus smoking policy.

Although UVU is a public institution and thereby accords to state smoking policy, some students are still unclear on the regulations of smoking on campus.

Other students knowingly break the rules because cold temperatures and weather conditions induce a limited number of places to smoke in between classes.

“I’ve never had a problem with the smoking policy, but I have been asked to move before,” junior Mark James said. “It was cold and I decided to smoke a little closer to the building than usual because I didn’t have a jacket.”

UVU Policy 158 prohibits smoking inside campus buildings, within 25 feet of entrances, windows, and air intake vents, inside partially enclosed areas (in between buildings and in courtyards), and at UVU sporting events.

“When there are areas that develop problems with students smoking where they’re not supposed to, the facilities department will put up signs to remind them that smoking in that area is not allowed,” Linda Makin, vice president of Planning, Budget and Human Resources said.

Although the signs that warn smokers of a smoke-free zone are usually effective, students don’t always comply with regulations. Students who choose to ignore campus smoking policies are at risk of a fine, suspension, or expulsion from the university.

The university is in compliance with the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act, which defines smoking as ‘inhaling, exhaling, burning, or heating a substance containing tobacco or nicotine intended for inhalation through a cigar, cigarette, pipe, hookah, or e-cigarette’.

“There were individuals who were not aware that e-cigarettes were regulated just like normal cigarettes under the clean air act. In order to clear confusion, our department sent out an email to remind faculty to reinforce the current policy,” Makin said.

Transfer students may also have a different understanding of UVU smoking policies because rules vary between universities. BYU and the University of Utah are both smoke-free campuses and have different methods of creating policies.

“The process can vary between institutions depending on their type of governance,” policy officer Cara O’Sullivan said. “For instance, the University of Utah has a staff of attorneys writing policies while UVU has a shared governance model. The student government, faculty senate, staff employee organization and academic affairs council give a fair representation of the four segments of campus community on all policies.”

UVU’s policy has changed in accordance with state law over the years. In the late 1970’s, there were cigarette vending machines on campus as well as a smoking lounge. The changes to state policy over the years reflect our changing viewpoint as a society toward smoking.

As for what the smoking policy will look like in the future, it depends on how state laws change and what policies are imposed. If a student wishes to modify UVU’s smoking policy or ask questions, they may contact the policies department.

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