EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- As football season kicks off Saturday, a major new rule goes in to play at Autzen Stadium as the entire University of Oregon campus goes smoke- and tobacco-free.
Starting Saturday, September 1, 2012, all University of Oregon owned or controlled properties will be completely tobacco-free. That means no cigarettes, no cigars, no chew or anything else tobacco related.
The ban spans every square inch of the UO’s property, including Autzen Stadium and the surrounding parking lot. Oregon State University also goes smoke-free on Saturday, September 1st. That includes all OSU property, including Reser Stadium.
While the policy is a big change at the UO, many campus leaders say at this point, it really shouldn’t be a big surprise. The university has been working on the tobacco ban for nearly two years as part of the UO’s Healthy Campus initiative.
Reminding people about the new rules, the UO is posting new permanent metal signage around campus, hanging new posters and sandwich boards and passing out flyers.
For Autzen Stadium goers, the UO has also been emailing ticket holders about the policy and will make announcement inside the stadium. The university has also partnered with LTD to advertise on the sides of buses and make audible announcements on their shuttle buses to the stadium.
Campuswide. the university is also reaching out to international students with smoking cessation information. Campus translators have created posters and tabletop cards in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Arabic detailing the no tobacco policy.
The campus says the move is about health and reducing trash on campus.
"It cleans up the environment as well as cleaning up the air quality for people with asthma, you know, any other type of respiratory issues and creates that healthier space for everybody and then we also see an increase in the number of people who try to quit when you have policies in place like this,” says Marci Torres, Director of the Healthy Oregon plan.
With the tobacco ban, there will be no designated smoking or tobacco use areas at Autzen Stadium nor anywhere on campus.
The UO is planning on enforcing the new rule through its Department of Public Safety / Police Department. Much of that will come through reminders, asking people to stop if their caught smoking or using a tobacco product.
Ultimately, by state law, the UO will be allowed to fine chronic offenders or anyone who is refusing to abide by the tobacco ban. Violators can be fined up to $30. The fine is based on an Oregon Administrative Rule, which is recognized by the state of Oregon.
The UO says it’s not pushing aggressive enforcement with the smoking ban as much as it is wanting to offer help. Along with reminders, the UO is making sure that students enrolled in the school have access to free resources to quit.
"We have peer health educators that are trained to do nicotine replacement therapy, counseling, creating a quit plan with students; then they send them over to the pharmacy, then our pharmacists consult with the students whether the gum or patch is better and how to use the product,” says Paula Staight, director of health promotions for the University of Oregon Health Department.
Staight says the campus has enough funding to continue its free smoking cessation programs for the next two to three years.