UW Tacoma campus officially smoke-free

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Smoking at the University of Washington Tacoma is now restricted to six designated areas on campus.

In response to voter-approved Initiative 901, the UW Board of Regents in January adopted permanent rules making all UW campuses smoke-free. Among other provisions, the initiative banned smoking in places of employment and within 25 feet of building openings and air intakes. Emergency rules have been in place for several months to meet these requirements, and the permanent ban went into effect at UW Tacoma this week.

Smoking is now banned everywhere on campus except for the six designated areas, which can be seen at www.smokefreeuw.washington.edu. The rule extends to all faculty, staff, students and visitors and prohibits smoking while walking across campus.

The new rules are intended to make the university safe and comfortable for everyone, said Dave Leonard, offsite facilities manager for UW Environmental Health & Safety.

"There are tremendous social and insurance costs related to smoking and second-hand smoke," Leonard said. "This is good news for students, staff and visitors, making UW Tacoma a place where people want to come and be protected from unwitting exposure to cigarette smoke."

A university-wide task force worked for a year to craft the UW Tacoma smoking rules. UW Tacoma employees and administrators and gave input into the selection of the designated smoking areas, which were approved by the Pierce County Health Department.

"An important part of this effort recognizes that not everyone is ready to quit smoking," Leonard said. "The outdoor designated smoking areas are provided for those smokers."

In conjunction with the new measure, the UW is promoting programs for smokers who would like to quit. All UW-sponsored health insurance plans for faculty and staff offer free or low-cost smoking cessation programs. Hall Health on the UW Seattle campus offers a free cessation program for students and is available to non-students for just $40.

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March 2, 2007