New legislation will extend ISU's smoking ban

AMES, Iowa -- The current ban on smoking in Iowa State University buildings will be extended to outdoor areas of the campus under new state legislation prohibiting smoking in most public places. Iowa Gov. Chet Culver signed the Statewide Smoking Ban bill today (April 15). The bill goes into effect July 1.

University Counsel Paul Tanaka said Iowa State policy already bans smoking in university buildings, except in designated smoking areas in private university apartments or labs used in smoking research. Current ISU policy also bans outdoor smoking within 25 feet of buildings and at outdoor events.

The new state legislation prohibits smokers from lighting up virtually anywhere on university grounds, although exceptions remain for designated apartment areas and research labs.

Following is a Q&A on how the smoking ban will impact Iowa State:

What university areas are affected?

The smoking ban applies to the entire university, including any work and study areas, outdoor areas and athletics facilities such as Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum. Smoking also is prohibited in university vehicles.

Are there exceptions to the smoking ban?

Smoking will be allowed in the following areas only if they are designated for smoking: private residences and apartments. In addition, smoking may be allowed where smoking research or smoking cessation programs are being conducted.

Which university housing areas are designated for smoking?

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

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.

What are the penalties for smoking on campus?

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

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.

Are nonsmoking programs offered on campus?

ISU's Thielen Student Health Center offers smoking cessation programs for students. See

How many colleges and universities currently ban smoking?

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