COLUMBUS — Ohio State plans to kick off its all-campus tobacco ban when classes resume on Aug. 21. But the university says it won’t start punishing violators until January to give people a chance to learn about the new initiative.
“We want to make sure the message is heard before we enforce any sanctions,” Ohio State spokesman Gary Lewis, Jr., said Wednesday.
In March, former OSU President E. Gordon Gee sent an email to students, faculty, and staff members saying that he wanted the school to have a policy banning smoking and the use of all tobacco by Aug. 1.
He was responding to a larger effort by the Ohio Board of Regents to encourage all of the state’s public colleges to become tobacco-free zones because of the potential health and economic benefits.
Almost 1,200 public and private campuses nationwide have tobacco bans, according to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights. But only three states — Arkansas, Iowa, and Oklahoma — have banned smoking on their state campuses.