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The Marlboro Man will have to ride a careful trail across the UNC campus to comply with a near-complete ban on smoking that takes effect Jan. 1. Having first banned smoking in classroom and administrative buildings, then in residence halls and their outdoor breezeways in 2004, then in outdoor areas near the medical school and throughout the health affairs campus buildings earlier this year, the University announced today that smoking would be prohibited within 100 feet of any facility on or off the main campus.
Except on athletic fields, in Battle Woods, large parking lots and perhaps in the center of the Arboretum, that doesn’t leave much. There’s a narrow strip, for instance, down the middle of the larger quads — Polk and McCorkle places — that’s more than 100 feet from a UNC building. The policy effectively outlaws the designated smoking area. Smoking in state-owned vehicles will be disallowed.
The move is a response to a law enacted by the N.C. General Assembly last summer that empowers localities to set up 100-foot buffers. The UNC System is letting individual campuses decide whether to join the ban.
Chancellor James Moeser had asked leaders of the student body, the faculty and the UNC Chapel Hill Employee Forum to consider a proposed ban and give him feedback. The Employee Forum was ahead of the game — it approved a resolution endorsing the change in May.
In an e-mail message sent to the campus community Oct. 22, Moeser said, “The practical effect of this University policy is that the campus will be smoke-free. We will begin posting temporary signs throughout campus to ensure that visitors and members of the campus community are aware of the expanded no-smoking policy. Later, we will replace these signs with permanent signs at the entrances to campus. The intent of the policy is to promote the health and well-being of people on our campus, although we understand that implementation of this policy may be stressful for some of our faculty, staff and students who choose to smoke.”
He added, “I ask that you treat smokers courteously and, if you are comfortable doing so, simply request that people who are smoking within 100 feet of University facilities extinguish their tobacco product.”
The University has prepared a map detailing the 100-foot buffer.
The University offers smoking cessation assistance. Students should refer to the Campus Health Services Web site, chs.unc.edu, and faculty and staff should refer to the Environment, Health and Safety Web site at www.ehs.unc.edu.