Georgia universities could see tobacco ban
by Mark Andrews
Jan 12, 2014 | 2517 views | 0 0 comments | 60 60 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Student Joyce Gethi leaves a Georgia Highlands College building that prominently displays no smoking signs. The campus has been smoke free since it opened in Cartersville. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Student Joyce Gethi leaves a Georgia Highlands College building that prominently displays no smoking signs. The campus has been smoke free since it opened in Cartersville. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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The University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents next month is expected to hold a preliminary committee vote on a system-wide campus tobacco ban. Dana Davis, director of college relations for Georgia Highlands College, said any new policy approved by USG would supersede the college’s existing ban.

“Currently we have a tobacco-free policy that includes chewing and smokeless tobaccos. I don’t think it would apply to electronic cigarettes the way the policy is worded now,” Davis said. “That policy was implemented shortly after [former President] Randy Pierce got here in 2001, before the introduction of electronic cigarettes.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports USG staff members will have discussions with leaders of institutions in other states with smoking bans on the way the policies were implemented. Those discussions are expected to take place within the next month.

If approved, the tobacco ban would prohibit anyone from using tobacco products — including electronic cigarettes — on all 31 campuses in the system. The ban also would apply to spectators at sporting events.

Smoking in public buildings already is prohibited by state law, and is banned from the University of Georgia Sanford Stadium and other athletic facilities.

Chattahoochee Technical College, which is part of the Technical College System of Georgia, does not have a ban on tobacco on campus.

“The most recent version of the tobacco-use policy was enacted in 2011 and it defines it as any type of burning tobacco or smokeless tobacco product. It is prohibited in all buildings, breezeways and campus vehicles for students, staff, faculty and visitors,” Rebecca Long, specialist for public relations for CTC said. “... It does allow for certain punishments to take place if it is faculty, staff or student [violating the policy].”

For visitors who rent space at the campus for special events, Long said, violating the policy can result in being banned from again hosting events on campus.

In other news, The nation’s tobacco companies and the federal government have reached an agreement on publishing corrective statements that say the companies lied about the dangers of smoking and requires them to disclose smoking’s health effects, including the death on average of 1,200 people a day.

The agreement filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., follows a 2012 ruling ordering the industry to pay for corrective statements in various advertisements. The judge in the case ordered the parties to meet to discuss how to implement the statements, including whether they would be put in inserts with cigarette packs and on websites, TV and newspaper ads.

The court must still approve the agreement and the parties are discussing whether retailers will be required to post large displays with the industry’s admissions.

— The Associated Press contributed to this article.