Smoke-free campus task force proposes policy to end tobacco use at NIU


Junior communication major Danny Albers smokes a cigarette outside of DuSable Hall Jan. 22. NIU must implement a campus smoking ban to be compliant with the Smoke-Free Campus Act by July 1.

By Jackie Nevarez

Some Faculty Senate members questioned how NIU will implement a policy presented Wednesday to make the campus smoke-free.

The Smoke-Free Campus Act, which goes in to effect July 1, prohibits smoking in indoor and outdoor areas of college campuses in Illinois. The NIU Smoke-Free Campus Task Force, comprised of faculty, staff, students and DeKalb County Health Department members, has been meeting since the fall to find a way to implement the act at NIU before July, said Derryl Block, dean of the college of Health and Human Sciences and chair of the task force. The task force presented a draft of the smoke-free policy at Faculty Senate.

Associate economics professor George Slotsve said the draft, which states smoking and tobacco are prohibited in privately owned vehicles, did not reflect reports from last semester that said smoking in privately owned vehicles would be allowed.

“I want clarification on this: If I have a pack of cigarettes and I leave my car parked on university campus, that’s illegal?” Slotsve asked.

Cigarettes are allowed on campus if they are not lit, Block said. The law does not say people may not smoke in their own cars, Block said, but after researching smoke-free universities the task force found allowing smoking in cars was ineffective.

Law professor Elvia Arriola asked if the law allowed for designated smoking areas around campus. Block said such areas would not meet the law’s requirements, but off-campus designated areas could be discussed.

The task force plans to talk to businesses and residents because of the possibility of people leaving campus to smoke and disposing of cigarette butts on lawns and sidewalks, Block said. Ash trays outside of campuses will display signs of the law’s upcoming enforcement and will be removed by July, Block said.