U of M gauges support for possible smoking banby Tim Post, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The University of Minnesota is considering a campuswide smoking ban at its Twin Cities location.
A student affairs group at the U of M and campus health officials sent out a survey to students, staff and faculty to gauge their feelings on a campuswide smoking ban.
Student Affairs Vice Provost Jerry Rinehart says the survey is the first step toward determining the level of support for a ban, one that might include all outdoor areas.
"we have a lot of questions to look into and answer before we'd ever want to propose a smoking ban," he said.
Rinehart says such a ban could lower smoking rates on campus. He says 7 percent of the 25,000 faculty and staff on campus are regular smokers. About 3 percent of the 50,000 students on campus smoke regularly, but 20 percent say they smoke at least occasionally.
"Small numbers don't mean we don't pay attention," said Rinehart. "We really want to make sure that we are doing something that the university community would support if we were to go ahead with a smoking ban, and something we could enforce."
The U of M already bans smoking in all campus buildings. The University of Minnesota campus in Duluth enacted a smoking ban last year. The U of M campus in Crookston will ban smoking in January. MnSCU campuses in Moorhead and Hutchinson have also banned smoking.