UIC boosts enforcement of tobacco-free policy
More signs and enforcement by the UIC Police Student Patrol will remind the campus community of UIC’s tobacco-free policy.
UIC has been tobacco free since July 2013. UIC’s policy prohibits cigarettes, cigars and pipes, water pipes and hookahs, chew, electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products.
“UIC is committed to maintaining a safe, clean and healthy educational environment,” said Mark Donovan, vice chancellor for administrative services.
The Smoke-free Illinois Act, which took effect July 1, prohibits smoking in all public places and workplaces. “We’re required to make sure we are in compliance,” Donovan said. “We’re getting more aggressive on enforcement.”
The UIC Police Student Patrol will walk around campus to remind smokers of the policy, Donovan said. Students in noncompliance will be referred to the dean of students, employees will be reported to their supervisor or human resources and visitors who do not comply may be asked to leave campus.
Smokers could also be issued a citation and fined by the UIC Police, he said.
“It isn’t a casual person who’s just smoking on campus,” Donovan said. “There’s significant abuse of the policy, and in some cases, maybe there isn’t full knowledge of the policy.”
Members of a new student group called Let’s Kick Butts UIC recently met with Donovan to present him with two garbage bags full of cigarette butts.
“We collected 10 pounds of cigarette butts in under an hour just on the east side,” said Sam Mahafzah, senior in psychology and co-founder of the group. “That just goes to show how many cigarette butts are on campus.”
Mahafzah started the group as a way to express student support for greater enforcement of the tobacco-free policy. Group members gave Donovan a petition with more than 500 student signatures.
“Our main goal is to ensure that we have a healthy campus and make sure that prospective students know they are getting the healthy atmosphere they have been promised,” he said.
Donovan said he’s working with members of Let’s Kick Butts UIC and Undergraduate Student Government to make sure students know about the policy.
“We hope that when we build awareness, everyone gets the message and complies,” he said.