Northwestern State University has become the latest institute of higher learning in Northwest Louisiana to announce plans to go tobacco-free on campus.
The new policy will become effective August 1, and will prohibit tobacco use on all Northwestern State campuses.
According to Vice President for University Affairs Marcus Jones in a statement released Monday, the policy will cover all interior spaces on Northwestern State's Natchitoches campus and branch campuses, properties leased or operated by the university, all campus housing, indoor and outdoor athletic facilities, vehicles owned or leased by the university and personal vehicles on the Northwestern State campus whether they are moving or parked. The policy will apply to Northwestern State faculty, staff, students and visitors to campus including contracted personnel, contractors and vendors. The policy applies to all university events and events held in university facilities.
Northwestern State has had a smoke-free campus policy, which prohibits smoking within 25 feet of campus buildings and at outdoor athletic facilities.
"This policy is designed to create a healthier environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors on Northwestern State's campus by minimizing tobacco use," said Jones. "We hope to prevent or reduce exposure of individuals to secondhand smoke and help reduce tobacco use among NSU students, faculty, staff and campus visitors."
Under Act 211 of the 2013 session of the Louisiana Legislature, all public post-secondary institutions in Louisiana are required to be smoke free. Each institution has the option to become tobacco free. The policy covers all tobacco derived or containing products, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, pipes, hookah-smoked products, oral tobacco and e-cigarettes.
Those who violate the policy are subject to a fine.
The policy will be communicated through orientation sessions for new students, safety meetings, internal communications and mail outs to alumni and athletic ticketholders.
LSU Shreveport will also go 100 percent tobacco free on August 1, 2014. Southern University Shreveport went tobacco-free in July 2013.