DENTON—More and more college campuses are going smoke free. Three years ago, Tarrant County College puffed out. UT-Arlington followed last year. UNT is now striking up conversation on their own smoke-free policy.
"I think it's good. I think it's a positive step," said UNT student Joel North, 27. He's been smoking since he was 13.
"Second-hand smoke is very dangerous, and we don't want to expose people to that," said UNT spokesman Buddy Price.
"It's just a cleaner, calmer place," said North.
UNT will join a long list of colleges and university across the country that went, or are going, smoke-free. UNT aims to have the policy go into effect on January 1st, 2013.
"We put January to give us time to work out the details of enforcement and make sure everybody on campus understands that we're going to this policy, because it is a major change," said Price
"There are many questions to be addressed and we want to be sensitive to the rights of all those who study and work here, as well as the thousands of people who visit our campus each year," said UNT president V. Lane Rawlins in an email to students and staff.
While North says he'll welcome the policy, his only concern is what will happen to violators.
"What is the trouble? What happens to us when we get caught smoking on campus? I have no idea," said North.
That's something the university still needs to decide. In Rawlins email to the UNT community, he said "…enforcement is expected to rely on communication and voluntary compliance."
Both TCC and UTA have cited students who violate the policy, but, for both schools, the numbers are relatively low. In the past year, police have issued 25 UTA students warnings. Repeat offenders could face disciplinary action. So far, that hasn't been the case.
Enforcement may vary, but the message remains the same: campuses are ready to clear the smoke.
"So, we're following the trend of what's going on across campuses," said Price.