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Smoking rules not enforced, some say

Ohio State continues to allow smoking on campus despite many other colleges going smoke-free.

Big Ten universities that have gone smoke-free include Penn State, University of Michigan, Indiana University, University of Iowa, Purdue University and University of Wisconsin, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation Web site.

“They may not be much different than Ohio State,” said Jim Lynch, director of OSU Media Relations. Some schools might still allow smoking in designated areas on campus, he said in an e-mail.

OSU’s campus smoking policy prohibits smoking in a 25-foot area around all building entrances, exits and windows.

“I think it’s OK as it is,” said Taylor Chung, a first-year in business.

“You have to be careful safety-wise. You should try to have precautions to protect the buildings.”

Some students like the OSU smoking policy but are unsure of what OSU is doing to uphold it.

“I think it’s a good policy but I don’t think it’s enforced,” said Becky Fussner, a first-year in psychology. “If I were to have a problem, I don’t know who I would go to.”

Violations can be reported to building coordinators, said Ben Lewis, communication manager for Human Resources. He said he didn’t think there were fines and that people are mostly reminded not to do it again.

The smoking policy adheres to the Ohio Smoking Ban that was passed in November 2006.

The OSU Medical Center went smoke-free in July 2006, before the Ohio ban was passed. Many surrounding health science buildings also went tobacco-free inside and out.

This decision was based on the Medical Center’s mission statement, which pledges to improve people’s lives, said Les Ridout, chief human resources officer for the Medical Center.

“It seemed appropriate that we move to improve the working conditions in our workplace and afford our patients, visitors and employees an environment free of tobacco use and secondary smoke,” he said in an e-mail.

After these changes, some colleges, departments and the campus in general expressed a desire to become smoke-free, according to a memo sent to the Board of Trustees in February 2007 by Larry Lewellen, vice president of Human Resources.

“We will continue to have periodic discussions about becoming totally smoke-free,” Lewellen said in an e-mail Friday. “When we do return to it, we will have a full campus-wide discussion.”

President E. Gordon Gee said although he supports a smoke-free campus, it is not on the top of his priority list.

smoking students

It doesn’t seem to be on anyone else’s, either.

“I am not aware of any active proposal to make Ohio State a smoke-free campus,” Lynch said.

Students no longer seem to be interested in a smoking ban.

“I would not like that,” said Travis Churchill, a first-year in material science. “It’s a big campus. It would be difficult to go off campus to smoke.”

For now, it seems Churchill has nothing to worry about.

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