Miami is taking immediate steps to implement provisions of a new Ohio law prohibiting smoking in all "public places and places of employment" on campus. The new law goes into effect Thursday, Dec. 7, 2006.
At the same time university officials plan to continue a discussion to address concerns about the health impact of smoking, as a follow-up to an earlier University Senate resolution prohibiting smoking near any Miami building.
Under the new law "public place" is defined as any area with a roof or overhead covering of any kind and walls or side coverings of any kind to which the public is invited or is permitted. This law means that no smoking will be allowed at Miami "in places of employment and related vehicles," and that Miami must ensure that tobacco smokes does not enter any area in which smoking is prohibited through entrances, windows, ventilation systems or other means. Effective Dec. 7, 2006, smoking will not be permitted on building porches, porticos, loading docks, or within 25 feet of any building or opening to any building.
To comply with the law Miami will remove all ashtrays and ash cans from around buildings and "No Smoking" signs with the State Department of Health toll free number for reporting violations will be posted across campus.
University officials say that putting the new law into effect will satisfy the part of the University Senate resolution passed earlier this fall that recommends prohibiting smoking within 25 feet of any building.
However, there are some other "practical issues we as a university community must consider," said Robin Parker, university general counsel. For instance, Parker said, "University Senate recommended we permit smoking in outdoor public areas but give 'preferential consideration' to non-smokers whenever it is clear they are involuntarily exposed."
University Senate will be asked to review its recommendation in light of the new Ohio law. Senate and other campus advisory groups will be asked to consider two options - either designating certain outdoor areas on campus for smoking or declaring the entire campus smoke-free. Any smoke-free option would involve establishing a plan for going "smoke free" that includes setting a smoke-free date six to 12 months in advance and providing smoking cessation assistance to students and employees.
University Senate, the Associated Student Government, the Classified Personnel Advisory Committee (CPAC), the Unclassified Personnel Advisory Committee (UPAC), and the Student Affairs Council will be approached for their advice and recommendations on these issues, Parker said.