‘It’s about education’: Smoking ban enforcement at CSU

Marshall Dunham

It’s been over a year since former Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order outlawing tobacco and vaping products on state-owned building property.

Because Colorado State University is state-owned property, the University then implemented a policy banning tobacco use on campus.

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In addition to complying with the executive order, the University’s tobacco policy webpage states the ban exists to “reduce second hand smoke and vaping aerosol exposure” and to “support tobacco users in quitting and reducing use and encouraging others to never start.”

Bob Schur, executive director for CSU’s department of policy, risk and environmental programs, explained he believed the policy was working out.

Vape mod
As a state-owned property, Colorado State University falls under the same tobacco ban under former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s 2018 executive order as other state-owned buildings and properties. (Photo Illustration by Skyler Pradhan | The Collegian)

“I do hear from Facilities that there is less cigarette litter compared to when we first had non-smoking areas on campus,” Schur said. “I think it’s been a positive progression. We didn’t expect anything to happen overnight.”

Schur explained that the big question everyone had was pertaining to how this policy would be enforced.

“The enforcement strategy is two-fold,” Schur said. “First and foremost, it’s about education. We’re not trying to get people in trouble or be really punitive about this. We’re making efforts to communicate with the campus community about the policy and how it came about and what’s expected.”

Schur said this portion of the policy was going “really well,” with ongoing communication campaigns starting back up in the spring.

“There’s also an online complaint form,” Schur said. “When those complaints come in, they go to Environmental Health Services.”

The public health administrator and a team reviews these complaints and visits the areas on campus where the complaints were reported, Schur explained.

We’re not trying to get people in trouble or be really punitive about this. We’re making efforts to communicate with the campus community about the policy and how it came about and what’s expected.” -Bob Schur, executive director, CSU department of policy, risk and environmental programs

“They’ll talk to people that are smoking or vaping there and remind them about the policy,” Schur said. “Then, they look at the area to see if signage is adequate or if there might be a receptacle still in place that should be removed because it’s encouraging people to smoke in the area.”

The team then works with Facilities Management to put up additional signage and improve the area, Schur said. 

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“When they do contact students or employees or visitors for vaping or smoking, they’ll politely educate them about the policy,” Schur said. “They don’t typically get much pushback. Most people are really good about saying, ‘I didn’t know’ or ‘Thanks for reminding me.’”

Schur explained that the team may remind repeat offenders that there are teeth to the policy and that employees and students can be referred for disciplinary action.

I used to smoke a juul, and I quit this past August. Part of the reason I quit is because it was less accessible.” -Max Tidyman, CSU junior history major

“Students go to Student Conduct, and employees would go to Human Resources,” Schur said. “We don’t have a smoking police force.”

Meanwhile, some students aren’t as appreciative of the policy.

“I think it’s totally unfair to the people who are of age and aren’t in high school,” said junior history major Max Tidyman. “I used to smoke a Juul, and I quit this past August. Part of the reason I quit is because it was less accessible.”

Tidyman added that since then, he’s returned to smoking cigarettes, though he doesn’t smoke on campus.

Anyone who would like to find out more information about tobacco policies at CSU can visit CSU’s tobacco policy webpage. 

Quitting

Man vaping
As a state-owned property, Colorado State University falls under the same tobacco ban under former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s 2018 executive order as other state-owned buildings and properties. (Photo Illustration by Skyler Pradhan | The Collegian)

“All fee-paying students have access to sessions with a tobacco cessation coach through the CSU Health Network at no additional charge,” reads the “quitting resources” section of CSU’s tobacco policy webpage. “To make an appointment, please call (970) 491-6053.”

The website goes on to read that many insurance carriers are required to cover tobacco cessation-approved nicotine replacement therapies and counseling.

“Approved products include over-the-counter nicotine gum, lozenges and patches, as well as prescription medications (i.e. Chantix and Zyban),” the website states. “You will need to check with your insurance carriers for plan details.”

Lastly, the Colorado QuitLine is a service that provides private counseling and support, as well as advice on creating a plan for quitting tobacco. The program can provide nicotine replacement such as patches and gum for free to those who enroll.

The Colorado QuitLine can be reached at 1-800-784-8669.

Marshall Dunham can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @gnarshallfunham.