Ohio State Set To Enforce Tobacco-Free Campus

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Ohio State's campus is getting ready to go tobacco free.(Photo: Flickr)
Ohio State's campus is getting ready to go tobacco free.(Photo: Flickr)

It’s been a little more than a year since the Ohio Board of Regents asked the state’s public colleges and universities to ban all tobacco use on campuses. Some, such as Ohio State, are in the process of doing so.

Ohio State’s no tobacco use policy is already in effect. It started August 1st. But people continue using tobacco products on campus. Dr. Peter Shields, co-chair of the policy’s implementation committee, says the university needed time to publicize the ban.

“We decided because we needed time for awareness and signage and preparation that we wouldn’t actually do much publically until January 1st,” said Shields.

But August 13th there will be a very public presentation; a health and wellness rally for OSU faculty and staff.

“At that rally we will take the advantage to formally say to everyone that we are now entering the awareness campaign and January 1st we expect that people will be following our new policy,” Shields said.

Which means that all tobacco products – even products that mimic tobacco – will be banned from campus. According to the College Of Public Health’s Liz Klein officials want to set the standard of a “tobacco-free” environment at Ohio State.

“I think the global view is really how do we promote being one of the healthiest campuses and I think it’s not allowing these products to be available within the campus environment,” Klein said.

Other Ohio campuses, such as Miami University, are also implementing tobacco-free policies. Claire Wagner is a Miami spokeswoman…

“There may be challenges to enforcement and we know that. But this is now in the university’s handbook and so it will be treated as if somebody violated another university policy,” Wagner said.

And that means, said Wagner, verbal warnings for a first offense by an employee, written warnings for a second offense and then, for another violation, possible suspension for a day. Repeated violations by students might result in suspension from the university.

Ohio State’s medical center has been smoke-free for about seven years. OSU’s Peter Shields says a few violators have faced severe penalties.

“Over the years – since 2006 – a handful of people actually were dismissed from employment because of repeatedly violating the policy,” Shields said.

The August 13th wellness rally is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ohio State’s Recreation and Physical Activity Center near Ohio Stadium.

  • GoBucks1234

    Again, another terrible policy that is shrouded in do-gooding. As an individual who hires graduates from ohio state, it is becoming disturbing the level of ignorance of the students. And policies like these continue to contribute to that problem. Instead of cultivating intelligence and good decision making, rules and regulations about individual decision making instills an absence of responsibility among our population. Smoking should be addressed through education and resources to help addicted individuals to quit. And at the end of the day, who is to decide what creates your quality of life?

    And how can ohio state possibly ignore the elephant in the room, that Famous Soft Drink, a substance that the university makes a ton of money off of. A substance with absolutely no nutritional value except in the most rare instances and has been shown to contribute to obesity and heart disease. Are they gonna ban that too? And what happens when a diabetic needs a sugary drink to keep from slipping into a coma? Are we going to let those people die because we have not allowed them to use their individual freedom to choose what’s in their own best interest?

    I am against smoking and for eating healthy and exercise. But more importantly, I’m for creating people who are intelligent, thinking, responsible people who make good decisions and there is no way to create those people by disempowering them from making decisions, good or bad. Remember, tobacco may not be your thing, or a cold soda, or a slice a pizza, maybe it is just sitting back and watching a frivolous sitcom for some relaxation with no other redeeming qualities, but I assure you, thinking like this will result in the state taking away from you the one thing you enjoy, or maybe the one thing that you need to save your life.

  • ConcernedColumbus

    Students are adults. But we need to protect staff and non-smoking students from constantly walking through haze of smoke by each doorway. I would recommend smoking areas strategically located far enough away from doorways, but convenient enough that they will be utilized by students and staff. My concern is a complete ban will eliminate cigarette butt waste containers. People will secretly smoke and the campus could end up filthy with used butts.