Campus breathing easier one year after going smoke-free

August 18, 2011

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One year after implementation, Purdue’s smoke-free policy for its West Lafayette campus is already helping to create a healthier environment for faculty, staff, students and visitors.

The policy, which took effect July 1, 2010, limits smoking to 22 approved locations. Smoking is prohibited elsewhere on campus and in Purdue vehicles.

"The reaction from the campus community has been very positive," says Carol Shelby, senior director of environmental health and public safety. "As with the implementation of any new policy related to behavior, there were some enhancements to be made as we proceeded."

In response to feedback, for example, grounds installed a pair of larger urns near University Residences to accommodate the higher number of smokers living on campus. A second urn also was added between Stewart Center and Purdue Memorial Union, which is another high-density smoking area, Shelby says.
The new policy is enforced in the same way as other University rules, and violators can be subject to appropriate discipline by supervisors and the Office of the Dean of Students. Individuals can report violations using the Smoke Free Campus Concern Form.

Still, the policy is designed to be self-policing, and peer-to-peer reminders and cooperation from smokers appear to have been just as effective.

"I've received fewer than 10 concern forms during the last two semesters, most of which involved people smoking too near building entrances during the winter," she says. "For a campus this size, that's an excellent indication the policy is working."

A number of health problems, such as heart disease, cancer and respiratory problems, have been linked to smoking as well as to secondhand smoke. More than 300 universities nationwide are smoke-free. All Purdue regional campuses have nonsmoking policies. 

For more information on the University's smoke-free policy, including a map of designated smoking areas, visit