Tobacco ban on UCLA campus coming in spring semester
The days of lighting up a cigarette between classes or of a smoke break outside the dorm will soon be over at UCLA as the campus prepares to become tobacco-free.
Chancellor Gene D. Block said in a letter that tobacco products -- cigarettes, cigars, oral tobacco and electronic cigarettes, among them -- will be prohibited as of April 22.
"Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke remain the leading causes of preventable disease and death worldwide," Block said in the letter. "Cigarette butts, which are non-biodegradable, account for one-third of all the litter in California. Cigarette butts and cigarette smoke are toxic and degrade the quality of our air, water, forests and beaches.
"It is important to protect our community from these serious health risks and adverse environmental effects," he wrote.
The ban comes as part of a push across the UC system to eliminate tobacco use on campuses by 2014.
President Mark Yudoff said in a January letter that UC Medical Center and more than 500 university campuses nationwide already ban smoking, and the UC system -- as a "national leader in healthcare and environmental practices" -- should follow suit.
"Offering a smoke-free environment will contribute positively to the health and well-being of all UC students, faculty, staff, and our patients and visitors," Yudof wrote.
Policies -- and enforcement -- will vary from campus to campus, UC officials said, but the focus will be on education and developing healthy habits rather than being only punitive.
At UCLA, Block said in the letter that the ban comes in conjunction with an initiative to "promote the well-being of our entire community through research, education and practice in such areas as nutrition, physical activity, environment and stress management."
Tobacco users, he said, would have access to various resources to help them quit, including a free nicotine replacement starter kit.
"Becoming tobacco-free," Block wrote, "is integral to our ultimate goal of becoming the healthiest college campus in the country."
-- Rick Rojas