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University of Iowa News Release

 

March 19, 2007

UI Health Sciences Campus To Go Smoke-Free April 2

The University of Iowa health sciences campus, in addition to several buildings on the university's Oakdale Research Campus, will be designated as smoke-free areas beginning Monday, April 2.

Smoking will not be permitted anywhere within the boundaries of the health sciences campus, which includes the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine; the UI Colleges of Dentistry, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health; the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center; the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences; the Newton Road Parking Ramp and the International Center.

On the Oakdale Campus, smoking is not permitted inside or within 25 feet of the perimeter of four health sciences buildings: the Institute for Rural and Environmental Health, the Multi-Tenant Facility, Oakdale Hall and the Physiology Research Laboratory.

Maps outlining the no-smoking areas are available online at http://www.healthcare.uiowa.edu/ccom/smokefree. This site also contains information on smoking cessation resources and frequently asked questions regarding the smoke-free policy.

The UI Health Sciences Policy Council (HSPC), composed of the deans of the five UI health sciences colleges and the directors of UI Hospitals and Clinics and the University Hygienic Laboratory, developed the smoke-free policy. The council first called for a ban on smoking on the health sciences campus in April 2006. UI Hospitals and Clinics implemented its own smoke-free policy on July 1, 2006.

The purpose of the health sciences campus smoke-free policy is to establish a campus environment that eliminates individuals' exposure to second-hand smoke, noted James Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., chair of the HSPC committee that is planning the implementation of the policy.

"This is not about targeting smokers. It's about a public health risk that affects everyone on the health sciences campus," said Merchant, who also is dean of the UI College of Public Health. "Given the Surgeon General's report from last year, which emphasized that there is no risk-free level of second-hand smoke, this is clearly the right thing to do."

The Surgeon General's report may be found online at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/library/secondhandsmoke/.

Efforts to educate the UI community about the health sciences smoke-free policy have begun and will continue throughout the semester. These include college-wide email communication, campus-wide communication, information on college and UI Websites, focus groups for both smokers and non-smokers, information fairs at each of the five health science colleges, educational seminars, staff presentations, and distributed print materials such posters and flyers. There also will be signage posted by April 2 to indicate when individuals are entering the smoke-free UI health sciences campus.

Smoking inside UI buildings has been prohibited since 1992. Last August, UI Interim President Gary Fethke approved a temporary ban on smoking within 25 feet of all university building entrances and exits, and parking facilities, elevators, lobbies and doors that were not already covered by the UI Hospitals and Clinics smoke-free policy.

Last December, a UI committee responsible for reviewing the university's smoking policies forwarded to Fethke a list of recommendations, including the eventual designation of all UI buildings and grounds as smoke-free areas (the report is available online at http://www.uiowa.edu/president/task-forces/smoking_policy/smoking_policy_recommend_111606.pdf). Fethke has asked faculty, staff and students to provide him with feedback on the committee's report by April 1 as a final step toward implementation.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

CONTACT: Steve Maravetz, 319-335-8033, steven-maravetz@uiowa.edu