University of Texas at Austin officials announced on Thursday afternoon that they could implement a completely tobacco-free campus initiative, with official talks on the smoking ban starting as early as Friday.
UT already designates indoor spaces, classrooms and dorms — and a distance of 20 feet from campus buildings' entrances — as a non-smoking zone, but the push for a full-on ban has been influenced by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, an organization that has awarded researchers at UT approximately $30 million in research funding.
The university is applying for $88 million more from the institution this year, and the stipulation for consideration: Campus must be tobacco-free by March 1.
The University of Texas wouldn't be the first to ban tobacco campus-wide: The Daily Texan notes that other branches of the university — UT-Arlington, UT-Brownsville and the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio — have already implemented the rule. Austin Community College, Huston-Tillotson University and Texas State University have banned tobacco use as well.
The university is applying for $88 million more from the institution this year. Stipulation for consideration: Campus must be tobacco-free by March 1.
And the UT Student Government had already resolved to push for a smoke-free campus over a period of seven years, in spite of opposition by university president William Powers Jr.
Adrienne Howarth-Moore, UT's director of human resource services, told the Austin-American Statesman that "any enforcement strategy will center on education, not-wrist-slapping," saying that the university will avoid fining those who break the rules and will continue to offer initiatives such as free smoking-cessation classes.
In the ban on smoking, how far is too far? How fast is too fast?