A review of Tri-State campus smoking policies

While Tri-State universities and colleges have long banned smoking indoors, new policies are addressing outdoor spaces with Northern Kentucky University approving a campus-wide ban this week.

NKU joined more than 1,000 colleges and universities to adopt campus-wide smoking bans in the country, according to a list maintained by American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation.

It remains to be determined if NKU's ban will result in any kind of penalty for offenders as it will take 18 months to implement the policy.

Other area colleges maintain their own smoking policies. Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, banned smoking on the grounds of any university-owned property in 2008. Smoking is permitted, however, in personal vehicles parked on university premises and in designated smoking areas around hotels.

The policy indicates violators are subject to university disciplinary action and may also be prosecuted for violation of Ohio's Smoking Ban.

The University of Cincinnati has not revised its smoking policy since 2006, when it prohibited smoking within 25 feet of all university building entrances. At Xavier University, smoking is also prohibited within 25 feet of entrances and on exterior landings, balconies and patios, according to spokeswoman Laurel Bauer.

Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Ky., a liberal arts college with approximately 1,900 students, has designated smoking areas and the buildings are smoke-free, said spokeswoman Stacy Rogers. There is no current discussion to modify the policy, Rogers said.

Schools cite the need to protect students, staff and campus visitors from second-hand smoke, and in effect, making it more difficult for smokers to continue the habit.

There are varying opinions on how smoking-ban policies should be adopted. Karyn Jones is a non-smoker but says smoking in front of building entrances is what concerns her the most.

"… People still do it and they are not doing anything about it," Jones said on WCPO's Facebook page. "If it means they are in front of a building where you have to pass through it and they are not adhering to that law, then maybe the ban is necessary.

"I think they need to police more and set smoking areas outside away from walking pathways, etc."

But smoking is not illegal for college students. Others believe campus-wide smoking bans are a Draconian measure limiting people's ability to choose.

Brenda Poe Dressman, of Erlanger, Ky., believes outright smoking bans are too extreme.

"I can understand banning smoking from inside, but banning outside is ridiculous," Dressman said. "If they are going to do that, may as well make cigarettes illegal."

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