Revised tobacco policy to go into effect Aug. 1 | UToledo News







Revised tobacco policy to go into effect Aug. 1

Signs that change is literally in the air are evident as the effective date for UT’s revised tobacco policy draws near.

Construction on several designated tobacco use areas continues, and signage will be posted throughout UT’s campuses before students return. The revised policy will take effect Monday, Aug. 1.

The policy restricts tobacco use to the designated huts, but does not affect Health Science Campus, which has been tobacco-free since 2006.

Alexis Blavos, alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention specialist and a member of the committee that crafted the policy change, has hosted monthly informational meetings since the revision was announced. During the meetings, held the first Tuesday of each month in various locations, Blavos discusses tobacco cessation methods, including medication, support groups and online counseling.

“I tell anyone who’s attempting to curb or stop their tobacco use to check their individual insurance plans to see what type of assistance is covered,” Blavos said.

For more information on the monthly meetings, click here.

Seven of the designated huts will be scattered across Main Campus, with one each on the Scott Park Campus for Energy and Innovation and at the Lake Erie Center.

Locations on Main Campus will be:

• East side of Carlson Library;

• Between Stranahan Hall and University Hall;

• Between Academic House and International House;

• Between the Crossings and Ottawa House;

• In McComas Village;

• Near Dowd, Nash and White halls; and

• Near Nitschke Hall.

5 responses to “Revised tobacco policy to go into effect Aug. 1”

  1. Ryan Hershberger says:

    I feel bad for the new Freshmen because there will not be anywhere for them to smoke outside of their dorms. The Parks Tower Porch is usually filled with smokers. They’re going to have to make a trip to McComas Village just for a cigarette. Same goes for the kids in Carter.

  2. William Gutheil says:

    I don’t follow the logic behind this. Is it some sort of “fresh air” initiative? Some small attempt at preventing students from ever starting to smoke? Some ill conceived effort to encourage current smokers to quit? Or just another way to drive home the idea that smoking is bad?

    Any reasoning you could provide is unfounded and counter-intuitive. The amount of smoking occurring on campus will remain relatively constant, but will now billow from densely concentrated areas. Some might argue this is even worse.

    As far as regulations like this acting as a deterrent to ever picking up the habit in the first place, studies show that “most smokers try their first cigarette before the age of 18” (, many well before their college years. From personal experience, I know that cigarettes on campus are often times a sort of social mannerism, a habit picked up from friends while among friends, perhaps on a night out drinking. College administrators know better than anyone the strength of the influences college students have on one another.

    For folks already smoking, a policy like this is just fuel for the fire. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind (a smoker myself) that the habit is unhealthy. When I am constantly ridiculed, however, for something the contradictions and issues of which I’m well aware of, I tend to get defensive. Cigarettes offer a brief relaxation and pleasure I can’t find in anything else, and if it’s my one vice to make it through the day, then so be it. It is, for lack of a better term, a personal choice. When I am told by supposed authority, many of whom were or still are addicted to smoking themselves, that I’m to be quarantined, sanctioned off and made an example of for the sole purpose of the administration maintaining a “healthy” image in the eyes of an increasingly hygienically-paranoid nation, well that’s all the more reason for me to blow smoke where ever I damn well please.

    Admittedly, my point of view is biased, but I’d just like to share the sentiments that many smokers will likely be feeling come fall. Be prepared to see outright denial of the policy and the continuation of smoking throughout campus in spite of the new rules.

    On a side note I’d like to question just why it is all this “anti-cigarette” hype lately has taken hold so strongly in an economic atmosphere that could very well benefit from the half-trillion dollars the tobacco industry takes in annually. Might seem like a silly argument, I know, but give it some thought.

  3. Kevin Omerza says:

    I believe that William makes a good argument on many points, but as he stated himself, there is some bias. I agree that this new rule will not have much effect (besides spending money on “huts”), as it will be near impossible to enforce due to the number of smokers on campus. If anything, this will only make the problem worse, as smokers will likely become defensive and defiant, and I look for there to be more cigarette butts littering the ground throughout campus.

    The issue of smoking is a gray area, as I believe people should have the right to smoke (though entering a healthcare profession I wish they wouldn’t), but I also believe their right to smoke ends where another individuals right to clean-smelling air begins and vice-versa. The main problem is how to define the gray area.

    As far as far as money being an issue, I believe it is, but you are missing the “big picture”. Yes the tobacco industry creates jobs and tax revenue…but at what social cost. The complications caused by smoking (lung cancer, asthma, etc.), and their treatments are a large contributor to rising healthcare costs. With the healthcare reform, these treatments will be paid to a larger extent by the government, and will cost more than the tax revenue the tobacco industry generates. Also of note is the cost of cleaning up after smokers, including cigarette butts (some use ash-trays and garbage cans, while others just toss it on the ground), and clothing. I recall a number of times when the person who decided to sit next to me in lecture also decided to take a smoke break right before-hand. I respect that they have a right to smoke, and sit where they please in the lecture hall, but I also believe I have the right to not have to wash a shirt 2-3 times to get the smell out.

  4. Forrest Clensy says:

    This is not going to solve anything.

    I don’t understand the thought process behind these designated smoking areas. There is going to be no way to enforce the policy, and people are going to continue to smoke outside where they please. It is great that the University wants to “improve the human condition” by creating anti-smoking initiatives, however the administration is going about it the wrong way. Instead of spending money on designated smoking areas and a hotline to report offenders, why not offer a smoking cessation program to students, faculty and staff at no charge? Why not subsidize the high costs of smoking cessation aids? These would give smokers the help they need to quit, rather than villifying them. Tobacco addiction is an addiction just like any other, and people should be offered help.

    There is also something to be said here about personal freedom. I was completely behind the state smoking ban solely because smokers were not only putting their health at risk, but also the health of other non-smokers in the building with them. In this case, the only person at risk is the smoker himself. No harm is done to others when smoking takes place outdoors. In that case a person should have the choice to do as they please to his own body.

  5. Alexis Blavos says:

    I appreciate everyone taking a moment to comment on the article and some very good points have been brought up and let you know that I agree, we have a challenging but positive road ahead. I also wanted to give you a little more information and anser a few of your questions in case anyone asks you about tobacco cessation or enforcement directly.

    1. We agree that there will be some growing pains and that the culture of the campus will not change
    overnight. It took a few years before people would never consider smoking on a plane but we have
    achieved that social change and I believe this one is achievable as well, it will just take time and
    2. Enforcement will begin socially with reminders about the policy and education about where the
    designated tobacco use areas are. I am sure other conversations will be had in the future if problems
    arise as to other ways to ensure everyone understands and complies with the policy.
    3. There have been some concerns about the hotline to call to report policy violations and I want to
    make sure that every knows that no money was spent on a hotline to report offenders, the line
    being used is the State of Ohio reporting line another option is a free email address here at UT –
    4. Tobacco Cessation
    a. I worked closely with a faculty member this last year to implement a FREE tobacco
    cessation program for ALL UT students, staff and faculty – the website is located at
    b. The Main Campus pharmacy has worked with the makers of Chantix to bring the cost
    to employees to a Tier-1 medication (about $11 a month), for students they can get free
    Nicotine Replacement Therapy through the Student Aetna Health insurance and we also
    have coupons set aside to greatly reduce the cost of Chantix for them.
    c. I agree wholeheartedly that Tobacco Addicted individuals should be treated with the same
    care, respect and dignity as anyone with diabetes, asthma, heart disease, etc. This policy is
    not meant to vilify them in anyway but to encourage a healthy campus for everyone here.
    5. Personal Freedom in this case can be looked at in more than one way. But it is important to realize
    that everyone has rights including asthmatics and others allergic to cigarette smoke. These individuals
    walk our beautiful campus daily, and send complaints to our reporting email, about how they have had
    an asthma attack or allergic reaction because they had no choice but to walk behind someone to get
    to a class or thier office. Many people currently have offices near areas where smokers stand and the
    smoke comes into the building through intake valves and windows. This policy is meant to give
    everyone the same freedom, fresh air. There are 7 conveniently located tobacco use areas around
    campus that any tobacco user is welcome to use at any time of the day.

    Again, thanks to everyone for weighing in on the new policy and I hope that the UT community as whole can help the campus make this positive change.