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Campus to be tobacco free this summer

Campus to be tobacco free
OU’s Norman campus will be tobacco free this summer after an executive order by Gov. Mary Fallin negated earlier plans for designated smoking areas. The ban will go into effect July 1 in accordance with Fallin’s order, which bans the use of all tobacco products on “all properties owned, leased or contracted” by the state, including all buildings, land and vehicles owned.

The order supersedes a previous tobacco ban approved by the OU Board of Regents that allowed for designated smoking areas on campus in the Dale Hall and Lloyd Noble Center parking lots, according to Daily archives.

OU drafted and presented a new tobacco policy to the regents March 28 to be in compliance with Fallin’s order.

Ground crews will begin removing the ashtrays around campus on July 1, Facilities Management Director Brian Ellis said.

“In some ways the process has gotten simpler,” Ellis said. “Instead of trying to maintain some smoking areas we can just remove all the ashtrays”.

Facilities Management will also put up “no smoking” signs beginning July 1, Ellis said.

“The university is going to have some professional-looking signs made” Ellis said “but if those aren’t ready by July we’ll put up temporary ones”.

OU officials plan on enforcing the ban in a similar fashion as parking violations, university spokesman Michael Nash said.

Warnings will be issued for first offenses, with $10 and $50 fines for second and third offenses, respectively, Nash said.

Efforts to ban smoking on campus began Sept. 12 when OU President David Boren announced the creation of a committee tasked with researching and drafting a tobacco ban.

Boren cited the adverse health effects of smoking and the cost of cigarette butt cleanup as justification for the ban, according to Daily archives.

Cigarette litter costs the university $12,000 a year to repair and repaint trash cans, benches cost about $90 each to repair.

“Currently, there are 900 trash receptacles on campus and of that number approximately 100 need to be cleaned each year due to smoking for a cost of $12,000,” landscaping director Allen King said. “Also benches are being used to extinguish cigarettes. The average cost to clean a bench is three man hours or $90 per bench.”

In total, cigarette litter cost the university $45,000 last year, according to Facilities Management statistics.

Boren said he recognized the inconvenience a smoking ban would cause students and faculty, so the university committed to providing quitting resources, according to Daily archives.

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