UC President Mark Yudof wrote a letter to the UC chancellors in January to ask each campus to form a committee to implement a tobacco-free policy by 2014.
In his letter, Yudof wrote, “The enforcement of the smoke-free policy should be primarily educational, with an emphasis on cessation resources.”
As the UC Davis committee begins to shape our own campus policy, they should follow this educational model of enforcement. Punishing those who continue to smoke on campus will not be an effective way of promoting a smoke-free environment.
The committee should be weary of implementing any policies that would restrict the individual’s right to consume carcinogenic toxins via both cigarettes and chewing tobacco.
A smoke-free campus policy would be difficult to enforce and punishing offenders with a fine or penalty would result in inconsistent enforcement and a hostile relationship between smokers and the administration.
There already exists an anti-smoking culture in California that does not encourage non-smokers to pick up the habit. This type of environment is far more useful to promoting non-smoking than a campus-wide ban.
Promoting education on tobacco use and providing resources for quitting is a positive way to address the issue of tobacco on campus and should be our campus committee’s main way of implementing the UC policy.