University gives students, staff more time to shape smoking policy

Students protested GW’s smoking ban in Kogan Plaza last year. Hatchet File Photo

Students and faculty will have two more months to weigh in on the campus-wide smoking ban, the University announced Thursday as it released the draft version of the policy.

All tobacco products will be banned from nearly the entire campus – the nine blocks at the center of campus, as well as parts of nine surrounding blocks. Complying with the policy is “the responsibility of all members of the university community,” the policy reads, but does not detail what consequences violators will face or how it will be enforced.

It says only that students, staff and faculty will be directed to the appropriate offices – either Human Resources, the Office of the Provost or the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities – “if necessary.”
The policy continues: “The success of this policy depends on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of smokers and non-smokers.”

The banned tobacco products include cigarettes, as well as e-cigarettes, and hookah. All ashtrays will also be removed from campus.

GW will foot the bill for programs to help students, faculty and staff quit smoking, including any nicotine replacement therapy such patches or gum.

The policy was approved in February 2012 by a student-wide vote. More than 66 percent of voters backed the smoking ban, with about 3,000 students weighing in. When they announced the ban, officials said they would then begin to outline a strategy to enforce the smoke-free policy.

GW will be one of the nearly 1,200 universities nationwide to ban smoking on campus, according to No-Smoke.org, including a half-dozen nearby universities.

Fifty-five percent of Americans believe smoking should be banned in public places, according to a Gallup poll released this week, up from 31 percent who supported the ban a decade ago.

GW will ban smoking in the areas shown in blue. Courtesy of GW Smoke-Free.

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