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U. of I. campus to kick the habit and become smoke free

10/17/2012 | Mike Helenthal, News Editor | 217-333-5491;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Urbana campus of the University of Illinois will become smoke free late next year, Urbana Chancellor Phyllis Wise said Wednesday.

The smoke-free campus, which will be instituted through a policy to be created over the next several months, is expected to be in place by November 2013.

The decision to become a smoke-free campus is the result of last year’s Illinois Student Senate resolution asking that smoking no longer be allowed on campus, and the subsequent recommendation over the summer from a committee Wise appointed to consider the issue.

State law already prohibits smoking inside public buildings and from within 15 feet of a building entrance. The Urbana campus policy would ban smoking from all university property – including sporting and entertainment events attended by the off-campus community.

“We want to ensure a healthy environment for our entire campus community,” Wise said. “It’s more about changing the campus culture and adhering to the principles we hold here. There is incontrovertible evidence that smoking is a dangerousaddiction – and that secondhand smoke affects everyone – so we’d like to not promote it on our campus.”

Wise said subcommittees will be formed soon to address all of the issues related to the smoking ban. She said the subcommittees would include the voices of all campus constituents and that the subcommittees would make recommendations to the general committee.

Wise said smokers being asked to leave the campus before lighting up will not be left on an island, however.

“The university will be increasing the number of smoking-cessation programs and offering them to smokers who would like to quit,” she said.

With the assistance of a We Choose Health grant from the Illinois Department of Public Health and funds from the Champaign Urbana Public Health District, the university plans to hire a graduate student to coordinate the smoke-free effort, Wise said.

Other issues covered by the sub-committees include signs, ways to minimize the impact of the smoking ban in off-campus areas, enforcement strategies and communication.

The U. of I. Wellness Center has set the stage for putting the new policy into effect by meeting with several faculty, staff and student groups.

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