The University will remove temporary smoking locations next month to become a fully tobacco-free campus but will continue to enforce the policy without fining violators.
Starting March 1, smoking tobacco will no longer be allowed at the 15 temporary locations, including two at the Pickle Research Center.
University spokeswoman Adrienne Howarth-Moore said the tobacco-free policy applies to UT property and areas under the University’s control, excluding neighboring streets. She said the University will monitor areas on campus where tobacco use is reported.
“Although there is not currently a fines structure in place, if someone repeatedly is advised to not use tobacco products and they continue to use those products, that is a violation of campus policy,” Howarth-Moore said. “It will be treated like any other violation of policy.”
Current violations of campus policy are dealt with by various organizations. For example, students who breach University policy must deal with it through Student Judicial Services at the Dean of Students.
In February 2012, the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas, or CPRIT, required the University to make all facilities tobacco-free by March of that year to continue to recieve research funding. The University allowed select temporary smoking areas on its facilities for one year, as well as allowing smoking for academic research.
According to the University Health Services’ college health assessment survey, 2.7 percent of UT students reported smoking at least one cigarrette every day of the month. The American Cancer Association reports that 19 percent of the United States adult population smokes.
Psychology junior Ticiane Silva said she smokes about 10 cigarettes a day, often near Littlefield Patio Cafe, and is not planning on quitting because of the campus-wide ban. She said students who regularly meet there will likely just walk to neighboring streets to smoke between class.
“Last semester this area was pretty famous. We call it ‘The Lounge,’” Silva said. “We’ll just go to Dean Keaton now.”
University Health Services offers a mobile app and informative classes to help smokers who want to quit make the transition easier. Resources to help individuals minimize tobacco use increased through the semester.
“Although they’re offering those classes to help you quit smoking, it’s not that I want to quit and can’t,” Silva said. “I don’t want to quit. I like it.”
Marketing senior Alejandra Garcia said she’s glad the temporary location near the Red McCombs School of Business will be smoke-free because it impacts everyone passing by, not just those smoking.
“I hate passing by there,” Garcia said. “If they were somewhere else I wouldn’t even be concerned about it, but because it’s so close to where I go basically all day it does bother me. I don’t think that I should have to be succumb to second-hand smoke when I don’t even smoke.”
Howarth-Moore said although CPRIT’s requirement allowed the University to implement the policy quickly, UT had been concerned with minimizing tobacco use, including making the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium smoke-free.
“Because of the CPRIT requirement, what could’ve taken three to five years to accomplish, we had to accomplish it in months,” she said. “Looking at the future, we’re going to be a healthier institution.”
Published on January 25, 2013 as "Campus to phase out temporary smoking areas".