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Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette
IPFW student Terriell Jordan lights up at a smoking hut on campus Monday. The few remaining designated smoking areas will be phased out by April 1.

IPFW prepares to go smoke-free

Designated areas at campus are being phased out April 1

A policy set to take effect in less than six weeks will prohibit IPFW students and staff from lighting up – even in previously designated smoking areas.

IPFW announced Monday the campus will be smoke-free and tobacco-free beginning April 1.

Smoking is currently prohibited in any IPFW facility and on university grounds but is permitted in parking lots and in one of several smoking huts.

But soon, those areas will be taken down, and people will be asked to leave the university grounds if they wish to smoke, Chancellor Vicky Carwein said.

“From a health standpoint, I’ve directly seen it, and I know the harmful effects of smoking and so for me, it was really a no-brainer,” Carwein said.

The new policy states the use of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes and all other tobacco products will be prohibited on campus and other sites controlled, operated or leased by the university.

There are only two exceptions to the rule – students living in university-owned dorms will be permitted to smoke in attached parking lots, and professors doing research about tobacco or smoking can request permission to do short-term experimental work, Carwein said.

“As we discussed the policy it was an argument that we listened to because it’s student housing … it’s not like the classrooms where people can go get in their car and drive somewhere else. Those are people’s homes,” she said.

IPFW follows in the smoke-free footsteps of Indiana University and regional campuses of Indiana University and Purdue University, all of which have adopted similar policies, Carwein said.

“It’s about the health of our university community and it’s about making this a healthier place to live and work,” Carwein said.

Monday afternoon Carwein said she had received about 10 emails related to the announcement – all in support of her decision.

“I know there will be those who are agitated,” she said.

“Nothing is without controversy.”

Students react

On campus Monday, news of the ban had already reached the smoking huts, where students discussed the decision.

IPFW senior Matt Swick said he has mixed feelings about the new rules.

“Being a smoker, I already feel like we are isolated to a certain extent,” Swick said.

“I’m a little bummed out about it, but at the same time I’m kind of surprised it’s just now happening.”

Swick, who has smoked for about 20 years, said he tries to be respectful of non-smokers by taking his smoke breaks in IPFW’s designated smoking huts and keeping his cigarettes out of sight between classes.

“I understand wanting to promote health and all that, but being a smoker is a choice that I made. I try to be respectful,” he said.

But IPFW freshman Kathryn Jenkins said she’s pleased to hear about the change.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Jenkins, a nonsmoker. “There are people who smoke outside my dorm and I always have to smell it and hopefully now I won’t anymore.”

Jenkins, a soccer player, said smoking is not popular among her friends who are athletes, but isn’t uncommon on campus.

Ross Wellman, a senior and nonsmoker, echoed Jenkin’s comments.

“I think it’s going to upset more people than it will make other people happy,” Wellman said.

IPFW offers freedom from smoking classes and tobacco-free support groups on campus that are free and open to the public.

The campus wellness center also offers information about how to quit smoking or stop using tobacco products, according to the university’s website.