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UCI 95 percent smoke-free, according to task force

UCI’s smoke-free policy task force issued an update last week, citing a 95 percent compliance for the smoke & tobacco free policy.

Convened almost a year and a half ago, the task force instituted a policy that banned tobacco products as well as e-cigarettes, a move matched by policies at other UC campuses. Enforcement procedures relied mainly on education and informational efforts.

In addition to existing signage and resource card distributions, the update also called on deans, department heads and managers to help contribute to the efforts of reach full 100 percent compliance with the policy.

In order to attain this goal, UCI will target specific hot spots, areas like Humanities Gateway, where more cigarette butts are being found, and inform people about the significance of the policy. Specifically, the policy will target new students and visitors who are only here for short periods about available smoking cessation resources.

The UC policy on smoking requires all students, staff, and visitors to comply with procedures that promote a smoke and tobacco-free environment. In January 2012, former UC President Mark Yudof announced to all UC chancellors that all UC campuses, buildings and owned properties provide this type of environment to all inhabitants. The guidelines that are a part of this prohibition include smoking, the sale and advertising of tobacco or tobacco-related products, (including electronic smoking devices such as vapes), as well as smoking in any vehicle on the premises of UC Irvine and locations where smoking is prohibited.

Currently, UCI policy enforcement relies primarily on education and cessation resources. However, UC policy allows individual campuses to levy fines up to $100 for policy violations.

Exceptions to the guideline include the permission of recognized cultural or religious traditions and ceremonies, as well as research involving smoking or tobacco products. Additionally, tobacco used for educational purposes is also allowed.

To help sustain the guidelines for the policy, the Health Education Center and UCI Worklife & Wellness Program for faculty and staff printed and made information available to smokers of the campus community as well as visitors. Smoking cessation workshops are also being held beginning May 21.