All UH campuses are now smoke- and tobacco-free

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald A cigarette butt receptor stands alone Wednesday on the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus.
  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald A sign informs students that smoking is not allowed Wednesday on the University of Hawaii at Hilo campus.

All University of Hawaii campuses and properties are now smoke- and tobacco-free.

A new law prohibiting smoking and tobacco use on UH premises was passed by the Legislature in May and signed this week by Gov. David Ige.

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“UH now joins more than 2,000 U.S. universities and colleges in an effort to provide a healthy environment for all students, faculty and staff,” said UH President David Lassner in an email sent to university employees and students Wednesday morning. “Studies show that a tobacco-free campus is effective in reducing smoking and tobacco use among college students, who are at risk for initiating social smoking practices that may lead to regular smoking. Prohibitions have been effective in reducing both smoking prevalence and exposure to second-hand smoke, thereby increasing smoke-free social norms.”

State Sen. Kai Kahele, D-Hilo, introduced the legislation and said Wednesday he was pleased the governor signed the bill.

“I think it’s just another testament to Hawaii’s commitment to a clean work place … (and) a healthy environment,” he said, adding that it’s “a good move in the right direction” for the state and UH as a publicly funded university.

Use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco, is prohibited. However, possessing cigarettes, tobacco products or electronic smoking devices does not constitute a violation, the new law states.

UH also is responsible for informing students, employees and visitors about the ban and must display “no smoking” signs around its campuses.

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According to information provided on the university’s website, those who intend to use tobacco products must leave UH grounds to do so. Previously designated smoking areas, including parking lots, are now nonsmoking areas.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.