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UC System Bans Cigarette Smoking Anywhere on Campus

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Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 9:30 AM

click to enlarge Don't even think about it.
  • Don't even think about it.
A strict new "no smoking" policy for the University of California will ban the use, sale or advertisement of any tobacco product anywhere on campus.

Pretty extreme, but to be expected -- because, unlike keeping tuition affordable for students, UC leaders have always made it a priority to stay on the cutting edge of the fight against tobacco addiction. They've thrown bucketfuls of sweat and tears into blocking research gants from tobacco companies, and just this winter banned smoking at all the UC health campuses.

The new ban to end all bans was an executive decision by...

... UC President Mark Yudoff, who announced the sweeping cig extermination in a letter to all the UC chancellors on Monday, according to UCLA student newspaper The Daily Bruin.

And in Los Angeles specifically, UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton says university leaders are in the early stages of forming a committee to enforce the ban.

However, it won't begin until 2014. That's because the UC cares about you and your withdrawals, the Bruin reports:

The university wants to help students wean themselves off of smoking in the period before it takes effect, rather than expecting students and faculty to immediately follow the rule.

Once it does go into effect, though, expect no mercy. Nary a parking lot, eucalyptus grove nor dumpster nook will be safe from the crackdown. So those craving a cigarette break will essentially be forced to brave Westwood campus traffic for 15 minutes just to find a safe haven for their terrible habit.

California's (and arguably the nation's) most prestigious ring of public universities is already reaping the PR rewards, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

"This is a very important milestone in California," said Colleen Stevens, chief of the tobacco control branch of the California Public Health Department. "In other states, most young people start smoking in their teens, but in California, that start date is getting older. This policy will help protect the next generation from suffering the horrible impacts of tobacco."

About 20 in-state colleges are already observing similar tobacco blackouts, but the UC system -- serving around a quarter-million students, plus a couple hundred thousand staff and faculty -- is the largest and highest-profile by far.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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