December 1, 2016
Posed to: John Delaney, President, University of North Florida
Both the Faculty Association and Student Government have passed resolutions asking for enforcement of the No Smoking policy. Yet there seems to be lots of smoking going on. Can we expect something to be done about smoking on campus?
Response from Vice President Mauricio Gonzalez
Vice President Mauricio Gonzales has responded to this question and his response is listed as Information Item #5 in the current agenda packet.
Dr. Pyati: Below is the response to Faculty Association regarding the UNF’s Smoking Policy.
Thank you for your questions about UNF’s smoking policy and enforcement. We’ve received many inquiries about why the policy isn’t more strongly enforced. In short, UNF’s Office of the General Counsel has advised that while state universities may pass regulations banning smoking on campus, state law preempts universities from imposing discipline, such as a fine or ticket, for violation of the Smoke-Free Campus Regulation. The relevant law is found in Florida Statutes Chapter 386, part II. We are aware that some other state universities have indeed passed policies that include imposing discipline, but it is our General Counsel’s opinion that these regulations would be found to be inconsistent with the law if they are legally challenged.
Additionally, we don’t wish to be overly punitive or exclusionary in enforcing the ban. Smoking is difficult to give up even for people committed to it, and we don’t want to alienate people or push them into a defensive posture. As such, we’ve devoted most of our efforts to awareness and cessation aid for students, staff and faculty who want to quit. To give an overview of what we’ve been doing, UNF first made the decision to go smoke free in January 2015, and planning and early promotions proceeded through the spring. In June 2015 we rolled out the full marketing campaign and began training staff and student leaders for the full rollout in September 2015. Ongoing Breath Fresh orientations, “Smoke Free” outreach, and marketing have continued every month since, and we’ve put additional resources into smoking cessation programs through the Department of Health Promotion and Healthy Osprey, and will continue to do so in the future. Many questions we’ve received involve English Language Program (ELP) students, so please see the attachment for an overview of how we’re approaching the issue with them in particular. These efforts will continue as well. Some more information on UNF’s policy and how we’re promoting cessation can be found here: http://www.unf.edu/breathefresh.
I hope this answers your questions, but feel free to contact us for more information.