Correction Appended: An earlier version of this article inaccurately identified the University Health Service as the University of Michigan Health System.
As the campus prepares to go smoke-free in July 2011, some buildings are implementing the smoke-free policy earlier in an effort to create a healthier work environment.
As of July 1 of this year, smoking within 50 feet of the LSA Building entrances is prohibited, due to a building policy initiated by LSA Dean Terrence McDonald. As the LSA Building and other campus sites move toward becoming smoke-free, the University Health Service is also preparing its services for the transition.
In a campus-wide email sent out last April, President Coleman announced that all three of the University’s campuses would become smoke-free on July 1, 2011. This policy will make all of the university grounds and buildings smoke-free areas.
Robert Johnson, Director of Facilities and Operations at the University, said the decision to make the LSA Building smoke-free before the rest of campus was due to the accumulation of smoke around the building entrances.
“Every time you came in the building you had to walk through smoke, and that was bothering a number of people,” Johnson said.
Because of this accumulation, as well as the fact that many offices overlook the entrances, Johnson said the different departments in the building approved Dean McDonald’s smoke-free proposal.
With no-smoking signs around the perimeter of the building, Johnson said he feels that the building will be able to make a smooth transition to being smoke-free.
“We think that most people are considerate and once mentioned to, will refrain from smoking in the zone we have set up,” he said.
Beginning Sept. 4, the football stadium will also become entirely smoke-free. In the past, smoking was allowed only within the stadium gates, but with this ban, smoking will be prohibited in all areas within stadium walls.
Johnson said smoking has also been prohibited around the entrance of the Chemistry Building that faces the Dana Building, due to the amount of smoke accumulation that occurred there.
As the LSA Building enters into a new smoke-free environment, the health systems on campus are preparing accordingly for the shift.
Dr. Robert Winfield, Chief Health Officer at the University, said the University Health Service has implemented several smoking cessation services that are available to students, faculty and staff, including free tobacco cessation counseling.
Though this service has been in place for years, it has only been offered to faculty and staff in the past year and to students for the past six months. In that time period, Winfield said he has seen faculty and staff use the counseling services more frequently than students.
“I think that that is partly because faculty and staff perceive smoking to be a problem, whereas students who generally feel somewhat invincible are less likely to find tobacco use as problematic to themselves,” he said. “I think that as the campus grounds become more smoke-free, more students are likely to say ‘I need to quit.’”
Under the University health plan, faculty and staff will also be able to receive prescription drugs used for tobacco cessation. But the health system is still deciding the amount of financial support for over-the-counter nicotine drugs for faculty, staff and students, Winfield said.
“Our pharmacy is going to try and discount to some degree the patches and gum and the lozenges, but we haven’t determined how much we’ll be doing it for the fall,” Winfield said.
Winfield, who is also co-chair of the Smoke-free Steering Committee — a committee that strives to get input on the smoking-ban from students, faculty and staff — said the committee is preparing a report to present in the fall on the different issues they foresee as the campus moves towards becoming smoke-free.
Though some of the issues have straight forward solutions such as putting up signs around no-smoking signs around a building, Winfield said the committee is also discussing how to deal with smoking by the edges of the roads. This issue differs from North Campus to Central Campus, as the roads to the North are owned entirely by the University and owned mostly by the city on Central Campus, he said.