Founders Hall

Founders Hall on the campus of Athens State University.

Athens State University staff and students who enjoy the occasional nicotine fix won’t be able to indulge on campus much longer. The school will be a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus beginning Monday, May 20.

The decision aligns Athens State with more than 2,000 other colleges and universities in the U.S. The ban applies to all facilities, properties, grounds and any university-owned or lased vehicles. It also applies to students, staff, visitors and contractors and anyone attending a conference, meeting, lecture, social, cultural or athletic event requiring use of university- controlled facilities.

An attempt to speak with university officials about the ban was unsuccessful Monday.

“The health and well-being of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors is one of the highest priorities for Athens State University,” according to information about the ban on the school’s website. “This

decision was made in light of findings by the U.S. Surgeon General that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke and use of tobacco products are significant health hazards.”

The ban also includes the use of e-cigarettes. School officials chose to include the devices because they emit a vapor other individuals breathe in without choosing to do so.

“Medical science has not yet determined the extent of potential negative consequences that result from inhaling or breathing in the vapors that are released,” according to the information on the website.

Those seen violating the policy will be asked to discard the tobacco product. Students who refuse to comply will be referred to the vice president for enrollment. Refusal to comply may result in being asked to leave the campus by campus security.

For more information, visit https://www.athens.edu/tobacco-free-campus.

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