DU Bans Smoking On Campus

New Ban Effective Jan. 1, 2010

Smoking will not be allowed on the University of Denver campus, beginning next January.

The only exception will be an area 25 feet from public perimeter rights-of-way.

Chancellor Robert Coombe informed the campus community of his decision on Thursday following a recommendation by the DU Tobacco Task Force, which has been studying the issue of smoking on campus for more than a year.

The task force was not assembled by the University administration, but was led by Dr. Sam Alexander, executive director of University Health Services. The group’s objective was to develop and recommend new policies governing the use of tobacco on campus, focusing on the health and well-being of the University Community.

The current campus policy bans smoking within all University buildings and outside of buildings, within 25 feet of entrances and exits.

"In considering the proposed full tobacco ban, it is important to note that while the University has rules and regulations governing the conduct of its students, faculty, and staff and policies in keeping with current law, it does not regulate legal personal choice unless such choice has a deleterious effect on the community as a whole," Chancellor Coombe wrote in an e-mail to students, faculty and staff. "At DU, personal choice is a part of personal growth. Our minds and hearts are shaped by the values of our community but are not regulated by them."

The task force originally recommended a complete ban on the use or possession of all tobacco products on campus. Coombe told the campus community that second hand tobacco smoke is a clear public health issue and it is reasonable to address both the task force proposal and our current policy in that light. Data suggest that second hand smoke can have adverse health effects within a distance of 25 feet.

A special exception will be granted for events at the Newman Center for the Performing Arts and the Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness¯venues used by the public at large. For these two venues -- located on the campus perimeter -- smoking will continue to be banned within the buildings, but designated smoking areas will be made available outside the buildings, at an appropriate distance from entrances and exits, during public events.

The task force’s recommendations were presented to the chancellor last winter with its recommendations and a supporting petition signed by nearly 1,900 members of the University community.

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