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Tough new smoking policy takes effect at Stanford Oct. 15

STANFORD -- As the song goes, "Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette."

But, starting Oct. 15 at Stanford University, just don't do it in an enclosed space - and the definition of "enclosed" has been broadened to include areas beyond offices and dorms - and don't do it in outdoor locations where it poses a second-hand smoke hazard for others.

Under the new policy, submitted to the community for comment in May and approved over the summer by the University Cabinet, smoking will not be allowed:

  • In any academic or administrative buildings, at any university-sponsored events (including those sponsored by the Athletics Department), in any patio or portico or walkway that is protected with an overhang.
  • In any outdoor area where proximity to doors and windows can cause smoke to drift into buildings.

Two other aspects of the policy will be implemented in the future, said one of the key authors, Tom Matteoli, manager of employee relations.

Because dorm contracts were already signed for the 1993-94 year when the policy was approved, smoking will not be outlawed in student residences until the 1994-95 academic year. And a ban on the sale of tobacco products on campus cannot be enforced until August 1994, when a new lease with the Tresidder Express convenience store goes into effect. Tresidder Express is the only central campus location that sells tobacco products.

The new policy was prompted by concerns over the hazards of second-hand smoke to non-smokers, Matteoli said. Enforcement of violations will be done on a "case-by-case" basis, he added.

"The policy is based on the thoughtfulness and cooperation of everyone in the community," he said.

A number of community members commented on the policy during the summer, he said. Not all were supportive, but all of the comments were greatly appreciated, he said, and many suggestions were incorporated into the final version.

Mary Edmonds, vice provost for student affairs, received but one comment from the student body population. That student expressed concern over entryways where smokers often congregate on breaks, and that smoke from those groups was entering workplaces.

Under the new policy, smoking will be allowed outdoors if the smoker is "located far enough away from doorways, open windows, covered walkways and ventilation systems to prevent smoke from entering."

The policy enables vice presidents, vice provosts and deans to "designate certain areas of existing courtyards and patios as smoking areas, in which case ashtrays must be provided" and paid for by the unit. The university will no longer provide ashtrays.

Matteoli said the new policy should affect a small percentage of the overall Stanford population.

Nationwide, about 25 percent of adults still smoke; in California, the figure is about 20 percent. At Stanford, the Cowell Student Health Center estimates only 2 percent of undergraduates smoke (figures are not available for graduate students). The Health Improvement Program estimates that only about 8 percent of faculty and staff are smokers.

Faculty and staff who think smokers might be violating the new policy should contact their employee relations representatives, Matteoli said. Students should contact their residence staff or the office of the Dean of Students.


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