Colleges and universities that opt to be tobacco free could fine people who violate the policy, under two measures that were moving through the Legislature on Thursday. Senate Bill 1674 by Sen. James Halligan, R-Stillwater, would allow all buildings in the state’s higher education system to be tobacco free if administrators agreed to it. The ban would apply to smoking and smokeless tobacco under the measure that passed the Senate in a vote of 29-11 Thursday. A similar measure, House Bill 2758 by Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, passed the House on Thursday in a vote of 81-11. The Senate bill would also make it a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine up to $100, to smoke or use tobacco on a campus that has been declared tobacco free. Halligan’s bill in the Senate prompted several questions and debate from senators who worried that banning tobacco on a college campus would infringe on individual rights. "Do you want to make smoking illegal?” asked Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City. "I personally don’t smoke, but we can’t be selective about the liberties we have. It’s these little ankle biters that will trip us up.” Halligan pointed out that Oklahoma State University has successfully made its campus tobacco free. "It’s perfectly appropriate for the regents to decide this,” Halligan said. "They (administrators) know their institutions.” Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso, who also said he’s a nonsmoker, said government efforts to limit smoking amounted to government encroachment. "This is hypocrisy, if we bring these issues to limit smoking,” Brogdon said. "If we’re serious about smoking, let’s ban it. Let’s stop kicking around the edges on these things.” Halligan argued that the side effects of smoking have a far-reaching impact, including increasing the cost of health care for Oklahoma nonsmokers. "When your rights impact my life, you have no right to say, ‘I want to smoke’ where I have to inhale it,” Halligan said. "One of the leading causes of illnesses is tobacco. When I have to fund your heath care, it impacts my rights and my pocketbook. Those are things of mine you are impacting. This bill does a simple thing to allow fines (for smoking) when the faculty and institution have embraced a no-smoking policy.” The OSU campus became tobacco free in July 2008, said Gary Shutt, university spokesman. Shutt said smoking cessation classes were offered. University figures show tobacco use among students dropped 10 percent from fall 2006 when the ban was announced to 2008 when the ban was enacted, said Yvon Fils-Aime, tobacco health educator at Oklahoma State. Making it a misdemeanor to use tobacco on campus would help encourage rule compliance. "A few people try to push the limits and you do need a mechanism to enforce something that’s important to someone’s health,” said Robin Purdie, director of Oklahoma State’s wellness center.