News Release

Smoking restrictions on campus to be enforced next semester

Contact: Rene Abadie


     HAMMOND – Smoke-free areas near building entrances on the Southeastern Louisiana University campus will be strictly enforced beginning next semester, a move timed to coincide with the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act that goes into effect January 1, 2007.

     “Smoking will be limited to specifically designated areas around certain buildings with a goal of keeping all primary entrances to buildings smoke-free,” said John Crain, provost and vice president for academic affairs and chair of an ad hoc committee addressing the issue of smoking on campus.

     Crain said highly visible signage will be installed next semester informing smokers of the policy, which is designed to clear the air around building entrances for the majority of non-smokers on campus and to lessen the litter associated with cigarette smoking. He added that the university will be vigilant in enforcing the policy.

     Designated smoking areas are present near several academic buildings, including D Vickers (east side), Garrett Hall (north side), Fayard Hall (northeast and southeast side corners), Sims Memorial Library (front of building, north end).

     Added to the no-smoking areas is the mall of the War Memorial Student Union and the Mims Hall entrance.

     Southeastern developed the designated smoking areas in 2003 in an effort to reduce litter and alleviate physical reactions among those susceptible so second-hand smoke. Using the theme “No Butts About It,” the project was designed to limit smoking around the most highly populated facilities on campus.

     “We believe it is important to reinforce and strengthen the university’s smoking policy, especially as the state moves toward implementing the Louisiana Smoke-Free Air Act,” said Donnie Booth, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and a member of the ad hoc committee.

     The act, passed by the Louisiana Legislature last year, prohibits smoking in most public places and workplaces, including all restaurants and educational facilities. The legislation also prohibits smoking in private vehicles used to transport children under the age of 12.

     “The Legislature recognized the inherent dangers of secondhand smoke,” said Booth, a nurse. “A new Surgeon General’s report published this year finds that even brief secondhand smoke exposure can cause immediate harm in some people. It’s not just a mere annoyance or nuisance, but a serious health hazard for smokers and nonsmokers alike.”

     The report, “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke,” published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in June, indicates that the health effects of secondhand smoke exposure are more pervasive than previously thought, Booth added. The report, along with other fact sheets and information, is available on the HHS website,

     “Secondhand smoke contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals and is a known human carcinogen,” she said. “Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke inhale many of these same toxins. Also, secondhand smoke can pose an immediate serious health threat to those with asthma or smoke-related allergies.”

     Booth added that Southeastern’s Vera W. Thomason Health Center can provide literature and assistance for smokers seeking to discontinue the habit.

     The committee is planning a scientific survey of faculty, staff and students on issues related to smoking on campus to help determine whether additional campus policies or programs such as smoking cessation clinics may be warranted. 

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