Miami will join a small group of universities across the United States in going fully smoke-free when it expands its smoking restrictions to include grounds and related outside campus areas on all three Butler county campuses and its Luxembourg campus in fall 2008.
Miami first banned smoking in 1993 in all public areas of buildings except designated ventilated smoking spaces. The university has banned smoking in residence halls and within 25 feet of them since 2002. Last December in response to a state law banning smoking in public places of employment, it also banned smoking within 25 feet of other buildings and in university vehicles.
The University Senate debated the issue last year, and Provost Jeffrey Herbst convened an ad hoc committee to gather data to inform a decision. A survey was offered online and on paper. Of 6,157 responses, 52 percent favored a full smoking ban, with 62 percent favoring it if it involved support for smokers who were trying to quit. The committee considered personal freedom issues, enforcement, grounds keeping, economic impact on a conference/hospitality level and economic impact on donations.
The committee recommended Miami go smoke-free but allow smoking in designated outdoor areas of "hotel-like" buildings such as Marcum Conference Center and the Miami Inn. It also recommended offering a variety of smoking cessation options, some of them free, for employees and students who smoke. "We are banning smoking and offering cessation resources because nothing is more important than the health and welfare of Miami's people," said Herbst.
At University Senate Aug. 27, Provost Herbst announced that President David Hodge accepted the committee and Senate's recommendations to establish Miami University as a smoke-free environment and the committee's proposal to include a hospitality exception and offer smokers support for quitting.
In a letter to the community, Hodge cited numerous studies finding that tobacco smoke is a major contributor to indoor air pollution and that breathing secondhand smoke is a cause of disease in healthy nonsmokers.