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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

July 3, 2008

How smoke-free air act affects Iowa State

by Diana Pounds

State legislation that went into effect July 1 prohibits smokers from lighting up virtually anywhere on university grounds. A few exceptions to the smoking ban remain for designated apartment areas and research labs involved in scientific smoking research.

Following is a Q&A on how the "smoke-free air act" will impact Iowa State.

What university areas are affected?

The smoking ban applies to the entire university grounds and properties, including any buildings, work and study areas, outdoor areas, parking lots, farms, Veenker Golf Course, and sports arenas such as Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum. Smoking also is prohibited in all university vehicles, including farm trucks, tractors, and implements.

Are there exceptions to the smoking ban?

Smoking will be allowed in private residential apartments only if they are designated for smoking. In addition, smoking may be allowed where scientific smoking research programs are being conducted.

Which university housing areas are designated for smoking?

Currently, some apartments in Schilletter and University Village, north of main campus, are designated for smoking. Smoking will continue to be allowed in those designated apartments. Smoking is not allowed in other university apartments, residence halls or in hotel rooms at the Memorial Union.

Does the smoking ban apply to Iowa State's private affiliated entities, such as the ISU Foundation and ISU Research Park?

The bill applies to all workplace areas, so the offices of the foundation, research park and other affiliated organizations are included in the ban. However, if the organization's facility is off campus, the smoking ban does not extend beyond 10 feet from the building's doors and windows.

Where can you smoke on campus?

Only in private residences and apartments designated as smoking areas.

Since you cannot smoke on campus, where can you go to smoke?

A person can smoke if he or she is beyond the university grounds and on property in which the owner permits smoking. Effectively, that means that a person must leave the perimeter of the university grounds to smoke.

City streets and sidewalks (for example, Lincoln Way or Sheldon Avenue) that form a boundary to the university grounds are not included in the grounds of the university, and a person could smoke on the sidewalk next to those city streets. However, institutional streets within the campus (for example, Union Drive, Osborne Drive and Pammel Drive) are on university grounds, and smoking is not permitted.

Persons who do go to the perimeter of the university grounds to smoke are requested to extinguish all smoking materials and place them in appropriate receptacles prior to returning to campus.

Can a person smoke in his or her private vehicle in a university parking lot?

No. The law is specific concerning schools and public educational facilities, requiring that a university not allow smoking inside any vehicle located in a parking lot on the grounds of the university.

What are the penalties for smoking on campus?

The law allows imposing a civil fine of $50 on individuals violating the law.

Are nonsmoking programs offered on campus?

The Student Health Center offers smoking cessation programs for students and employees. See Human Resource Services also provides other options through employee benefits for those interested in quitting smoking. See

How many colleges and universities currently ban smoking?

According to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, about 100 campuses are completely smoke-free, and about 300 ban smoking in all residential housing.

Who is going to enforce the new law?

The law designates the Iowa Department of Public Health as responsible for enforcement. ISU's environmental health and safety department will coordinate compliance with the law on campus. Citations may be issued by the ISU Police if a person does not extinguish smoking material upon request or continues in non-compliance of the law after being warned.

Where can you find out more information about how this law affects ISU?

A new Smoke-Free Campus policy is being developed to inform the university community about how the law affects ISU employees, students, and visitors. Concerns or questions about the new policy should be directed to the ISU Department of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) by calling 294-5359 or by visiting the EH&S website:

Where can you obtain additional information about the new Iowa Smoke-Free Air Act?

For additional information about the Iowa Smoke-Free Air Act and its regulations, go to the Department of Public Health website:

About the act

For more information on smoking ban, see the Iowa Department of Public Health's Web site on the Iowa Smokefree Air Act.