New rules on campus smoking
Student group, ‘Butt Out,’ helped to craft 15-foot limit

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs


23 January 2002 | Tina Kaur is tired of running the gauntlet of tobacco smoke that clouds the entrance of Moffitt Library, where she works as a technical assistant.

“Everyone stands there and smokes,” said Kaur, a sophomore majoring in psychology and anthropology. “I have to hold my breath each time I pass through.”

Instead of fuming over the situation, Kaur decided to take action. She joined Butt Out, an anti-smoking student group, and helped to revise the campus’s smoke-free policy.

With support from the city of Berkeley and University Health Services, Butt Out’s efforts have paid off. Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 5, smoking is prohibited within 15 feet of all entrances and exits to campus buildings. Smokers must also ensure that their smoke is not entering the building through windows or other openings. Under the previous policy, the distance was five feet.

The new policy was created to limit contact with secondhand smoke, which kills some 50,000 Americans a year, says Barbara Pottgen, a University Health Services health educator. Pottgen helped students get the new guideline implemented.

The new policy brings the Berkeley campus in line with the city of Berkeley and the state, which both already have a 15-foot limit at their buildings, Pottgen added.

In the coming weeks, building coordinators will be asked to post signs on the new policy next to main building entrances. Copies of the policy will also be distributed to the campus, and grounds crews will move ash trays to the new 15-foot boundary.

Pottgen encouraged anyone who observes a violation of the new policy to contact the building’s coordinator, department MSO, or safety committee. Members of Butt Out also plan to keep their eyes peeled, to help ensure that the campus is complying with the new policy, Kaur said.

Once everyone is aware of the 15-foot limit, said Kaur, ”we hope people will respect the new rule.”

The new policy is one of several Butt Out efforts to reduce the health hazards of smoking, particularly among students. Though statistics show that smoking has dramatically dropped in the state (only one in five Californians now smoke), the rates have risen sharply among those ages 18 to 24.

“We want to raise the awareness of the effects of smoking,” said Kaur. “A lot of students think it’s a lifestyle choice. But once you’re hooked, there isn’t much choice involved.”

Butt Out is the recipient of a city of Berkeley Tobacco Prevention Program grant, which in turn received monies from successful state lawsuits against tobacco companies.

University Health Services has posted a copy of the newly revised campus smoking policy online.


Home | Search | Archive | About | Contact | More News

Copyright 2000, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.

Comments? E-mail