Smokers, schools prepare for campus smoking ban

Smokers at Illinois colleges and universities are being forced to put out their cigarettes.

Starting July 1, all state funded universities and colleges are going smoke-free as a part of the Illinois Smoke-Free Campus Act.

The new law is similar to what has already been instituted at the University of Kentucky, which bans smoking cigarettes and e-cigarettes on campus. In some cases, repeat offenders can even be fined for failing to follow the rules.

“SIU will join the other state institutions across the state of Illinois and implement a smoke-free campus community,” SIU Interim Dean of Students Katie Sermersheim said.

While the campus staff is busy removing smoking areas and preparing to enforce the law, Steve Smith says many smokers are looking for loopholes.

“I think a lot of people are going to go to their cars and smoke in their cars,” Smith said.

Because he started smoking at 15, Smith says he understands why some smokers see the law as a drag, but he’s going about things differently.

“I’m going to quit,” Smith said. “I quit for 15 years once, and I can do it again.”

“As we work towards educating members of our community and guests of our community I believe that the majority of those folks will adjust and honor that as appropriate,” Sermersheim said.

To help speed up the process, SIU is hanging signs around campus and providing a grace period to spread the word.

SIU will not fine those caught smoking on campus, but will give warnings to students and staff.

Repeat offenders could ultimately be banned from campus.

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