Jun 10, 2014 3:16 PM by KATC
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is banning tobacco from its campuses effective Aug. 1.
According to a release from UL Lafayette, a new state law mandates that public universities create smoke-free policies.
"Previously, smoking was permitted outdoors at least 25 feet away from building entrances. Our new tobacco-free policy goes further. Besides removing secondhand smoke from our campuses, we want to support those who are trying to quit tobacco altogether," said Joey Pons, UL Lafayette's associate director of public safety.
The university is developing materials to educate the campus community and visitors about the new policy, Pons said. Also, students, faculty members and staff will be directed to smoking cessation resources.
The university plans to launch a Breathe Easy educational campaign by the fall.
A university tobacco-free working group proposed many components of the new policy after weighing comments from students, faculty members and staff and reviewing other universities' policies.
University Council then reviewed the group's recommendations and approved the policy. The Council is composed of top-level university administrators.
Although the policy is intended to establish a tobacco-free campus, there are a few exceptions.
Smoking is permitted in personal vehicles parked in university lots or on public streets on campus, but not parked within university parking garages.
Use of tobacco is permitted at tailgating spaces outside athletic facilities during NCAA sports events.
Electronic cigarettes are allowed in most outdoor areas, but not indoors.
Pons said the university will review the policy's implementation and initial effectiveness by the spring 2015 semester. Changes in official health advisories or laws can result in revisions to the policy at any time.
As of April, more than 1,300 U.S. universities are smoke-free, according to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation. Of those, 925 are tobacco-free and 167 prohibit the use of e-cigarettes on campus.