The University Record, September 6, 1994

No smoking in University facilities—no butts about it

By Mary Jo Frank

Smoking is now prohibited in almost all University leased and owned facilities.

The policy, which went into effect Sept. 1, says: “In recognition of environmental tobacco smoke health risks, the University will provide as close to a smoke-free environment as practicable for its faculty, staff, students and visitors. The right of a non-smoker to protect his or her health and comfort will take precedence over another’s desire to smoke.”

Maureen A. Hartford, vice president for student affairs and a member of the U-M Initiative Policy Council for the Implementation of Task Force Recommendations on Alcohol and Other Drugs, says the policy council has been working to create a healthier work environment for all members of the University community.

“With the number of reports on problems of passive smoke, members of the policy council agreed we should limit exposure to smoke as much as possible,” Hartford says.

Many University buildings were already smoke-free, she notes. “It’s basically a change of habit. We are by no means in the forefront on this issue.”

The policy council also recognizes that, for some people, smoking cessation is very, very difficult and that others don’t want to stop, she adds. “We need to recognize that and appreciate people’s rights to choose.”

The new smoking policy does allow people to smoke within 50 feet of outer door entrances, except in special circumstances such as the entrances to

U-M Hospitals and the Michigan Union.

“Smokers are expected to stay a reasonable distance from building entrances, in order not to interfere with access or the rights of others,” according to Section 601.4 of the Standard Practice Guide. Any deviation from the policy will require appropriate executive officer approval.

Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed areas in University parking structures, including elevators, stairwells and parking attendant booths, according to William B. Krumm, associate vice president for business operations. Signs to that effect have been installed in parking structures.

Smoking will continue to be prohibited in all University vehicles, including Transportation Services cars leased by individuals and departments.

Transportation Services Manager Patrick Cunningham says violations of the policy are detectable by non-smokers who often complain when they rent a vehicle that smells of cigarette smoke. Some regular customers will reject a vehicle if they detect the odor of smoke in it.

Eliminating the smoke odor from a vehicle is difficult and can be costly—about $100 to send the vehicle out for special cleaning, Cunningham says.

“It is largely a matter of courtesy. Smokers must remember that when they smoke in a vehicle, even with no one else present, the odor of this smoke will remain in the vehicle for days and even months after the smoking occurred and most people find this odor objectionable.”

The new smoking policy and procedures also call for individuals who smoke on University premises to be responsible for the proper disposal of smoking products.

The sale of tobacco products will be prohibited on University premises.

Smoking is prohibited in all Housing facilities with the exception of specifically designated resident rooms and apartments. Housing residents and applicants can request to be assigned to designated smoking units and will be accommodated to the degree such units are available.

Limited smoking rooms may be provided in conference centers and hotels and for controlled research, education or religious ceremonial purposes, with prior approval of the dean or director responsible for the facility.

Editor’s Note: The Sept. 12 Record will carry the second issue of Perspectives on Social Issues, which focuses on smoking. It includes information on a number of smoking cessation programs as well as helpful information for those who want to quit.