LSA goes smoke free a year ahead of
Another campus unit has announced its plan to create a smoke-free zone surrounding its building a year ahead of the universitywide implementation of the Smoke-Free University Initiative. As of July 1, smoking is prohibited within 50 feet of the LSA Building, Director of Facilities and Operations Robert Johnston announced in an e-mail two weeks ago to LSA faculty and staff.
Last month, Athletics announced that the concourse area of Michigan Stadium would be smoke free when the fall football season begins.
The entire campus will go smoke free July 1, 2011, under the university initiative. In the meantime, U-M leaders say, the current policy set in 1987 already promotes the concept of smoke-free zones around building entrances. Some buildings, including Wolverine Tower and the Law School, have established similar smoke-free areas.
Dr. Robert Winfield, chief health officer for the university, acknowledged that some units are interested in moving at a faster pace in specific areas and around specific buildings.
“There are currently excellent support services through MHealthy that have been put in place for those smokers who wish to quit,” Winfield says.
Johnston says the LSA decision not to wait until next year was prompted by concerns about second-hand smoke for faculty, staff, students and visitors, who are subjected to the smoke at building entrances. He also said smoke wafting into offices near the smoking areas was a consideration.
“After receiving many complaints from building occupants and visitors about smoking around the building we worked with the directors of the other units in the LSA Building to ensure that we had buildingwide support for this initiative,” Johnston says. ”Since the announcement was made, we have received a uniformly positive response from everyone that has contacted us.”
In his note to faculty and staff he spelled out the specific parameters, saying smoking will not be allowed between:
• The street sidewalk and the building entrance on the State Street side of the building.
• The building and Regent’s Plaza (from the south building entrance).
• The building and the visitor parking lot and the Maynard Street sidewalk.
Signage near building entrances will inform people of the no-smoking zone.
President Mary Sue Coleman announced in April 2009 the plan for U-M to be an entirely smoke-free university July 1, 2011. Once implemented, university grounds and buildings on all three campuses will be designated as non-smoking areas. Smoking already is prohibited inside university buildings, and the medical campus has been smoke free for more than a decade.
The time between the announcement and implementation of the policy was to allow for community input. Several subcommittees have been meeting with students, faculty, staff and members of the local community to discuss implementation of the policy in a way that respects smokers and nonsmokers. The committees will make final recommendations to Coleman in the fall.
The primary goal of the initiative is to create a healthier environment for all, and the university is offering assistance to smokers who wish to take it as an opportunity to quit.
The MHealthy Tobacco Independence Program (MTIP) offers free counseling focused on ending tobacco addiction. Benefits-eligible faculty and staff that complete a questionnaire and a qualifying tobacco treatment program will receive a $100 before-tax incentive. Spouses and Other Qualified Adult dependents of benefits-eligible employees also qualify, and the employee will receive an additional $100 incentive (up to $200) when two people complete the program.