MARCH 28, 2007

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OSU-Tulsa moves toward smoke-free campus

The Oklahoma State University-Tulsa Board of Trustees recently adopted a new policy that will significantly restrict smoking on campus beginning April 1.

The trustees said their intention is to promote a healthier and safer campus environment for students, employees and visitors. The restricted smoking areas will be the first step toward the campus becoming smoke-free.

OSU-Tulsa President Gary Trennepohl said he applauds the proactive nature of the Board of Trustees and will work with university officials to implement the directive. He said the efforts are part of the OSU System goal to make OSU “America’s healthiest university.”

The changes will include educating people about the new policy and limiting the number of designated smoking areas.

Dr. Ron Bussert, vice president for administration and finance, said OSU-Tulsa’s restricted smoking policy will complement the state law that prohibits smoking within 25 feet of entrances to public buildings.

According to Oklahoma Statutes Title 21 (section 1247), smoking is illegal inside and within 25 feet of entrances to all State-owned buildings, including courthouses, municipal buildings and public education facilities. Bussert said violators of the 25-foot law may be subject to a misdemeanor charge including fines up to $100.

“Through education and enforcement, we hope to significantly limit smoking on campus and encourage the use of designated smoking areas,” Bussert said. “The dangers of second-hand smoke have been well documented. Smoking near buildings and other gathering places is an unhealthy nuisance.”

Designated smoking areas will be located west of the flag poles near the OSU-Tulsa Auditorium, as well as the southwest side of Main Hall and east side of North Hall. A fourth location will be designated near the Helmerich Advanced Technology Research Center after it is completed later this year.

The university is building covered smoking shelters that are scheduled to be constructed during the next several weeks. Once completed, smoking and tobacco use on campus will be limited to those freestanding shelters.

“We are attempting to create a positive balance by providing designated areas for individuals who smoke on campus and phasing in a smoke-free environment,” Bussert said.

Contact: Mary Bea Drummond, OSU-Tulsa, (918) 594-8223.