ISU campus to be made smoke-free by new ban

James Heggen

The ISU campus will be smoke-free starting July 1.

Gov. Chet Culver signed a bill Tuesday that will essentially ban smoking in all public places across the state. The ban will go into effect on July 1 of this year.

According to Section 3.2.d of the bill, smoking would be prohibited on “school grounds, including parking lots, athletic fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, and any other outdoor area under the control of a public or private educational facility, including inside any vehicle located on such school grounds.”

According to section 3.2.e of the bill, smoking is also banned on “the grounds of any public buildings owned, leased, or operated by or under the control of the state government or its political subdivisions, including the grounds of a private residence of any state employee, any portion of which is open to the public.”

University Counsel Paul Tanaka said section 3.2.d of the bill will apply to Iowa State.

“Certainly, as we read it, it would apply to campus,” Tanaka said.

Exceptions to the bill come in the form of private residences, which Tanaka said includes Schilletter and University Village apartments, both of which will still permit smoking. There is also an exception for smoking research or smoking cessation programs. However, Tanaka was unsure whether or not any such programs were currently being conducted on campus.

There is also an exception in the bill that allows smoking in designated rooms in hotels. This, in theory, could apply to the Memorial Union Hotel. However, the hotel already prohibits smoking in its rooms, Tanaka said.

Tanaka also said no one would be allowed to smoke in their cars on campus.

Dotzler said his understanding of the bill would only allow smoking on the “public right of way” – public sidewalks located next to roadways.

The Iowa Department of Public Health will be in charge of enforcing the statewide ban.

On campus, the ISU Department of Public Health and Safety will coordinate the enforcement, said David Inyang, director of environmental health and safety. He said it is important to remember that when a law is passed, an agency is in charge of enforcing it. The agency then appoints other agencies to help with the enforcement of the law. However, the department has not yet written out exactly what the role of Environmental Health and Safety will be.

“At this time, nobody knows exactly how the rule will be enforced,” he said.

Inyang said all university buildings are already smoke-free.

A university rule currently prohibits smoking within 25 feet of any university building. Inyang said building supervisors are in charge of enforcing this rule. If there are problems with compliance, his department is sometimes called in to “help drive the point home.”