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UNC issues warnings for on-campus smoking

Posted September 2, 2008

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— University of North Carolina public safety officers began issuing warnings Tuesday to people smoking near campus buildings.

Smoking has been prohibited within 100 feet of any university building since January to limit exposure to secondhand smoke. UNC officials have worked to educate people about the policy in recent months and to provide smoking cessation resources to students, faculty and staff.

Chancellor Holden Thorp said officials "are increasingly receiving reports of smokers who refuse to move the required 100 feet away from university facilities and who litter the ground with their cigarette butts." So he ordered campus security to start issuing citations to violators.

Each citation carries a $25 fine and $121 in court costs.

UNC Public Safety spokesman Randy Young said officers would issue warnings to violators for an unspecified period before handing out the citations.


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  • mpheels Sep 3, 2008

    gordonbabe - there is not a ban on alcohol on campus. There is an open container ban in Chapel Hill, which means it is the responsibility of the Chapel Hill police to enforce the laws barring the consumption of alcohol outside on public property. People are allowed to consume alcohol on campus as long as they are following local and state laws - i.e. they are over 21 and not outside on public property. The only additional rule on campus is that students over the age of 21 cannot consume alcohol in the presence of others under 21. Some students break the open container ban, and they are frequently cited and/or arrested. You are just as likely to find a soda can in the brush as you are a beer can, and to be honest I don't see very many of either on campus. But I do see a lot of cigarette buts.

    This citation policy will not clog the courts anymore than speeding tickets or any other citation issued on campus.

  • iamforjustice Sep 2, 2008

    mpheels....like I said give them a spot to smoke at. The ones that enter and don't smoke should be fined or thrown in jail. If I wanna smoke crack it should be my civil right. I am so tired of unmoral people trying to run this world for us moral people.

  • gordonbabe Sep 2, 2008

    First off, the 100 foot rule is not "law" anywhere. It is UNC policy, nothing more. It is up to the university to enforce it, as in UNC police, not Chapel Hill police. If they start trying to clog up the Orange County courthouse with hundreds of smoking citations, the judges are going to get mad, and tell the university to handle it themselves. And as they have no court system of their own, outside of the student Honor Court, that may be a bit difficult to do.

    My husband and I will start abiding by this policy when they start enforcing the years(if not decades)-old ban of alcohol on campus. For those who say they do enforce it, ask my husband how many beer cans and bottles he picks up every day

  • mpheels Sep 2, 2008

    The party line on this issue is health, and health is certainly the primary concern, but there are other issues involved too.

    For starters many smokers (not all) were too lazy to put the buts in the ashtrays provided or pocket them until they could put them in the trash. The ban will save money in facilities maintenance b/c less time will be spent picking up buts. Time/money savings were a major motivator for making the dorms smoke free a few years ago as the switch reduced the need to scrub walls b/t residents. Sorry for the spelling of cigarette waste, the censor only allows 1 T in but.

    Another major issue is the general appearance of campus. It just looks bad to have 10-15 people standing around the library entrance smoking. It makes it look like the majority of students smoke (when it's really about 26%) and it's a turn off for potential students and their families when they visit campus.

  • iamforjustice Sep 2, 2008

    I think that there should be a smoking section to all schools and businessess and ones that are not smoking in those designated areas should be fined also. That should be the law. I think handicapped people who park in my good parking spaces should be fined since I can't park in their spaces.

  • yellow_hat Sep 2, 2008

    Hey TheAdmiral - would you mind letting us know when you are going to UNC to smoke your stogiie and to tell the Campus Police where to shove it, or better yet - try to "place it there". I would like to see that.

    It is about time they started enforcing this LAW. I was at the game at Kenan on Saturday and people were smoking everywhere.

  • scientistjo Sep 2, 2008

    No more warnings. People have known about this for a year. There are signs every 30 feet! Fine them!!!

  • wrx44 Sep 2, 2008

    Second hand smoke has about zero effect in the open air like this....this is alarmist PC bs.....

  • SomeRandomGuy Sep 2, 2008

    Thanks for the link franchuck and for your answer mpheels. Now I have read the GS and see this: "As used in this Part, 'grounds' means the area located within 50 linear feet of a building wherein a local health department or a local department of social services is housed."
    I do see a section in there that applies to schools but it seems to apply more to city/county schools that have a school board. Where did 100 feet come from? I don't see any mention of that in the GS.

  • lilloan Sep 2, 2008

    Alarmists everywhere...it's just a little smoke. FYI, you absorb more carcinogens in 2 minutes sitting in front of your burning fireplace. A campus bus emits more corcinogens per hour than 200 SUV's yet only has a maximum capacity of 50. North Carolina has some of worst air pollution in the country....carcinogenic effect recently estimated at 2000ppb versus second hand smoke being about 3ppb in exhaled smoke.

    This is about money and control and not about preventing cancer. The average person gets exceeding more exposure to carcinogens from the fumes emanating from the gas nozzle when filling up...and, by taking a stroll in the park and breathing our wonderfully clean air. Alarmists everywhere!