Tulane University in New Orleans is the latest institution of higher learning to declare it will have a smoke-free campus in the fall. Other colleges in the state, including the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, already have slated to be “tobacco-free” campuses, beginning in August.
ULL’s policy states university employees and students caught using tobacco will be referred for “appropriate disciplinary action” and visitors will be asked to leave campus, but Tulane’s penalty of $25 per citation puts a better perspective on how the policy will be applied more consistently to everyone.
The war against tobacco has been waged longer than the war on drugs. Smoking in state buildings has been prohibited for many years. In more recent years, a prohibition of smokeless tobacco has been enacted. As technology has advanced and e-cigarettes were created so that nicotine users can “vape” to get nicotine their self-regulated dosage, prohibition policies have kept pace.
Unlike Tulane’s new policy, ULL’s rules include exclusions, like the use of products for research or in cleaning products that use tobacco-derived chemicals. The university also includes some guidelines in its policy that allow smoking, dipping, chewing or vaping, such as if you are in your car driving through campus or parked in an outdoor parking lot. Parking garages are considered state buildings, so the prohibition is included. Construction crews that have their area secure from access by outsiders can use tobacco within the secure area.
The policy also does not apply to “grounds outside of athletics facilities during NCAA public events, including parking lots and tailgating areas.”
Tulane’s policy lacks exceptions. Certainly the university police there likely will issue warnings to violators at first, but like some small towns that write speeding tickets as a way to increase operational funds, strict enforcement could be a way to boost revenue.
ULL, on the other hand, likely will give violators warnings at first, but then students and employees will be “disciplined” and visitors kicked off campus if they violate the policy. Could a $25 citation for policy violators be a better attention-getter, as well as a way to make up for state funding cuts?