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SMOKING BANNED ON CAMPUS

As soon as August 1, smoking will not be allowed on campus.
Phillip Waller / The Daily Mississippian

Ole Miss will officially be a smoke-free campus beginning this fall.
 
The Smoke-Free Campus Policy Implementation Committee finalized and approved a policy that will ban smoking on the Oxford campus of the University of Mississippi.
 
The committee will continue to meet during the summer to further discuss the policy, but as of Aug. 1, the University Police Department will begin issuing warning cards to those smoking on campus. Warning cards will also be available for the public to hand out if they see someone smoking. There will be no designated smoking areas. Currently the policy is only smoke-free, not tobacco free.
 
Beginning Jan. 1, a $25 fine will be given to anyone smoking on campus, and they will be asked to stop smoking or leave campus if they do not comply. If the fine is not paid, the smoker will have a hold on his or her Bursar account.
 
“The idea is that (fines collected) would go to support smoking cessation programs,” Leslie Banahan, vice chancellor for student affairs, said.
 
Although some may think this policy is unfair, the committee said it is more about protecting rights than taking rights away. The policy aims to prevent second-hand smoke from affecting the health of those on campus. Because smoke-free tobacco will not harm anyone but the person using it, it is not included in the policy.
 
Associate Provost Maurice Eftink said he knows the policy will face opposition but supports it because he believes a smoke-free campus will be beneficial to the university.
 
“They work to a degree,” Eftink said. “You wont get a complete ban on cigarette smoking but basically about 20 percent of the college student age population will smoke, and it may vary from one place to another...but it seems that you can get a drop of about 5 percent in the percentage who smoke and also a 25 percent decrease in the number of cigarettes smoked per day.”
 
Chairperson for the marketing and communications committee Jennifer Farish said they plan to announce its implantation on the UM Today website and create a separate website with information about the policy.
 
There are still some details that need to be worked out, but the committee is working to provide counseling and cessation programming through the Student Health Center for those who decide to quit smoking. They plan to provide prescription smoking aids, but the details have not yet been discussed. It was reported that an estimated 650 people came to the center for help this past year, and the committee anticipates more once the policy goes into effect.