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Friday, March 22, 2013 - University policy change prohibits smoking on campus

Committed to protecting the health of all in the campus community and cognizant of the fact that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke, Oakland University administrators have approved a policy change that will prohibit smoking on all university owned or operated campuses.

This change to Policy 475, which will become effective with the start of the fall 2013 term and will apply to persons on campus at any time and for any purpose, fully expands a smoking ban that had been limited to a 50-foot perimeter outside university buildings, as well as in university-owned vehicles.

“We know the hazards of secondhand smoke and that we need to keep the air clean for all students, employees and visitors to Oakland. With this in mind, the university has been moving toward the implementation of a smoke-free campus for some time,” said Cora Hanson, Oakland’s environmental health and life safety manager and member of the university’s Non-Smoking Policy Committee.

“We know that the most effective way to protect others from secondhand smoke is to ensure that smoking is not taking place in public spaces.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, smoke-free policies are the only effective way to protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke. Such policies have been shown to improve air quality, decrease air pollution and improve the health of individuals who might otherwise be exposed to an increased risk of heart disease, lung cancer and other ailments.

Oakland University is now among 22 Michigan colleges and universities that have enacted smoke-free policies. Seventeen of these incorporate 100 percent tobacco-free guidelines.

Exempted from Oakland’s policy are Meadow Brook Hall, the Oakland University golf courses and private residences in the Meadow Brook Subdivision. Elsewhere on campus, the university will be moving cigarette urns that had been placed in various outdoor locations to campus perimeter locations.

While smoking on campus will be treated in the same fashion as any other violation of university policy, Hanson said she and other health and wellness officials will emphasize efforts to raise awareness and promote courtesy for fellow community members in order to make this quality of life change more effective.

Policy 475 encourages all university employees to share the responsibility to make others aware of the policy. Those wishing to report violations should review procedures outlined in Policy 475 rather than contact the Oakland University Police Department, as violations do not rise to the level of criminal activity.

Those interested in learning more about health and wellness initiatives at Oakland, including smoking cessation programs, are encouraged to visit Graham Health Center’s Health Services website.