Ashtrays have become an endangered species in hallways and restrooms at the University of Utah as school officials attempt to bring campus buildings into compliance with the updated 1976 Utah Indoor Clean Air Act.
Smokers were almost left without a place to light up when an ad hoc committee of faculty, staff, students and alumni seriously considered a total smoking ban, said Steve Taggart, manager of campus safety services and committee member. But the total ban was rejected when smokers raised objections to such a restrictive policy.Under the new policy, smokers can still have a puff in designated areas on campus in accordance with the act and the rules and regulations of the Utah Department of Health. Still, that policy is likely to become more restrictive in the future, as the law changes, Taggart said.
The committee had been discussing a new policy for more than a year, but it wasn't formally presented to U. administrators until last month.
The new policy mirrors the Indoor Clean Air Act. It prohibits smoking in all classrooms, hallways, restrooms and other areas where secondary smoke could affect non-smokers. Portions of lobbies and lounges may be designated as smoking areas. Smoking may also be permitted in private offices where the walls run from floor to ceiling, in offices inhabited exclusively by smokers and in other areas approved by safety services.
Taggart said if a campus department wants a smoking area in a building, the area must be selected and presented to safety services for evaluation. If the area meets the smoking policy criteria, it will be designated by a "Smoking Permitted" sign. Smoking will not be allowed in some buildings because of their layout and design, he said.
The campus policy has not changed much from what it has been in the past, Taggart said. The new guidelines are an effort to educate the campus community on what the university smoking policy entails. "We are calling upon people to be more aware that laws are getting more strict."
Please see SMOKERS on B2
Memos have been sent to vice presidents, deans and department heads outlining the updated policy.
Taggart said he hopes smokers and non-smokers will be sensitive to each other's rights. It will be necessary for university faculty, students and staff to take responsibility for compliance with the regulations, he added.
"It's not going to be enforced fanatically but used as a guideline to arbitrate problems," Taggart said. "We're not going to write tickets to those who don't comply."