Smoking Policy Has Teeth - Citations and Fines Await

Beginning Sept. 2, UNC’s Department of Public Safety will issue citations to anyone caught violating the University’s no-smoking policy.

This announcement came in an e-mail to the campus community from Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86, who said that there have been reports of violations throughout campus since the no-smoking policy was enacted in January.

The policy prohibits smoking within 100 feet of any campus building and does not provide designated smoking areas – in effect, making the campus smoke-free. The announcement that citations would be issued this fall marks the first attempt by the University to enforce the smoke-free policy.

“The policy intends to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, and it applies to all visitors, patients, students and employees,” Thorp wrote.

According to the e-mail, violators caught smoking in a smoke-free area of campus will pay a $25 fine and $121 in court fees. Officers with the Department of Public Safety will file charges in Orange County Court.

“Public safety officers will be performing normal patrols,” said Randy Young, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety. “There are several areas that have come to our attention where the policy has been taken advantage of over the past year.”

Those areas include the area between Campus Health Services and Kenan Stadium and areas near the Health Sciences Library on Columbia Street and off Medical Drive on South Campus, Young said.

“Officers will be vigilant throughout the campus,” Young said. “They will also respond and investigate if certain areas are reported.”

Thorp wrote that initially the University’s focus was “on education about the policy and resources to help people quit smoking.”

UNC is encouraging smokers interested in quitting to take advantage of smoking cessation programs at Campus Health Services and the Department of Environment, Health and Safety.

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