UH Manoa to be smoke-free starting July 1

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Cleaner air and a cleaner aina. That’s what University of Hawaii officials say a smoking ban will mean for their Manoa campus.

On Monday, students learned that Manoa will become a smoke-free campus beginning July 1. That applies to all indoor and outdoor areas.

Smoking will no longer be allowed around classrooms, dorms, athletic facilities and parking structures, and the campus will not have designated smoking areas. Ashtrays on campus will be removed and more “no smoking” signs will be put up.

“There’s over a thousand universities across the country that have already gone smoke-free and so it’s very much the new normal,” said Kristen Scholly with UH Health Promotions.

The ban will apply to staff, students and visitors who attend conferences, cultural and sporting events. Smoking will not be allowed in vehicles on campus either.

UH officials believe this ban could save them millions in health care and administrative costs, but those who are caught smoking on campus will not be slapped with a fine or face any other punishment.

“Instead, what we want is self-enforcing policy. We found that on college campuses that works much better,” Scholly said.

In a campus-wide email Monday, chancellor Robert Bley-Vroman says the school has been working on this policy since March 2012, when the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii and the Manoa Faculty Senate passed resolutions in support of a tobacco-free campus.

“Education and training is a key component of this initiative. Efforts will focus on discouraging the use of all tobacco and making sure there are resources available for anyone who wants to quit,” he wrote.

  • Click here to read UH Manoa’s new smoke-free policy.
  • Click here for educational materials, cessation support services and policy information, as provided by the university.

Students KHON2 talked to had mixed feelings.

“I support the ban on a personal reason because my grandma was actually diagnosed with lung cancer and she never did smoke a day in her life and she would explain that she would work back in her day, she was exposed to a lot of second-hand smoke,” said UH student Blane Garcia.

“It’s really hard to quit smoking and college is really stressful and the campus is so big, that having designated smoking areas like this doesn’t bother too many other students,” said UH student Theo Smith.

This will be the second smoke-free campus in the state, following Kapiolani Community College.

“Later on, could e-cigs and tobacco chewing be including in the ban?” KHON2 asked.

“I guess we’ll have to kind of see at this point. It’s a work in progress, it’s a policy that will move as health trends move,” Scholly said.

In the months leading to the July 1 official start date, a task group will be working with appropriate campus departments on implementation steps to ensure a smooth transition, according to Bley-Vroman.

Smokers will be able to smoke off-campus, which includes Dole Street and University Avenue.

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