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ND emphasizes smoking policy

Amanda Gray | Thursday, January 21, 2010

Several complaints from students, faculty and staff alike recently have sparked e-mails about enforcing Notre Dame’s smoking policy, Mike McCauslin, the acting director of Risk Management and Safety, said.

The e-mails, sent to the student body last Wednesday, remind students, staff and faculty that smoking is prohibited within 25 feet of a building.

“The original focus of the e-mail was directed at faculty and staff,” McCauslin said. 

“Smoking complaints typically rise during the winter months and also during inclement weather. People tend to smoke closer to buildings or under protective overhangs.”

McCauslin said this causes two problems: smoke entering buildings through entrances, windows or ventilation systems, and people being forced to walk through smoke to enter a building.

“We decided to take the opportunity to remind University personnel of the policy.  After the e-mail had been sent to University faculty and staff, we were encouraged by several e-mails to remind students of the policy,” McCauslin said.

According to the policy, smoking guidelines were revised on April 10, 2006 to reflect St. Joseph County’s smoking ordinance. 

“The most recent change to the policy was in August 2008, when the University incorporated the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) requirements establishing a minimum distance from a buildings perimeter of 25 feet,” McCauslin said.

This distance from the perimeter stops smoke from entering ventilation systems, according to the policy.

McCauslin said Risk Management and Safety received few complaints about students smoking in violation of the policy, and the complaints involving staff and faculty came from those entering the buildings in which they work.

According to the smoking policy, the Office of Human Resources will provide smoking cessation courses for any faculty or staff member that wishes to quit smoking, and the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education (OADE) will provide similar classes for any student wishing to quit.

“An annual survey of college freshmen conducted by UCLA has routinely reported that about 2 percent of our freshmen smoke,” McCauslin said.

According to its Web site, OADE has developed the Resolve Program to Quit Smoking for student smokers.

Included in the program is a 20-day quitting guide, along with personal assessments and guides to help students quit successfully.