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Campus ban on smoking is working, University of Oklahoma officials say

by Silas Allen Published: January 14, 2013

In the six months since a campuswide smoking ban took effect at the University of Oklahoma, no one has been fined for smoking on campus.

OU's campus tobacco policy took effect in July. Since then, OU officials haven't issued a single citation for smoking on campus. OU spokesman Michael Nash said the policy also has led to a “noticeable decrease” in the amount of cigarette butts and other tobacco-related trash on campus.

Although the university hasn't fined anyone for smoking on campus, OU has issued 13 warnings related to the tobacco ban.

OU's campus tobacco ban went into effect in July after Gov. Mary Fallin issued an executive order prohibiting tobacco use on state property. Fallin announced the measure during the 2012 State of the State address.

During the address, Fallin said improving the overall health of state residents is an economic imperative.

“Healthy living is important, not just because we want Oklahomans to live full and happy lives, but because the effects of unhealthy life choices hurt our economy, drain taxpayer dollars and drive up the cost of health care for everyone,” she said.

Fallin also blamed tobacco use as one of the factors that led to the state's poor performance in national health rankings.

In 2012, Oklahoma ranked 43rd in America's Health Rankings, an annual report by the United Health Foundation. In the category of smoking, Oklahoma ranked 47th in the country, with just over 26 percent of its adult population smoking on a regular basis. Only Arkansas, West Virginia and Kentucky ranked lower in that category.

Fallin's executive order came on the heels of an OU Board of Regents vote to approve a campus tobacco policy that was less strict than the one Fallin put forth. At a meeting in January 2012, the board approved a policy that left two designated smoking areas in parking lots near Dale Hall and the Lloyd Noble Center.

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by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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