UNM introduces more aggressive anti-smoking policy

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico is cracking down this year to enforce its policy to be tobacco-free.

UNM announced it is getting rid of designated smoking areas this school year and about 60 signs are now posted at entry points all around campus to remind anyone arriving that no tobacco products are allowed.

UNM said the policy will be enforced starting on Tuesday, August 15.

With grant money from New Mexico’s Health Department, UNM launched a marketing campaign to create awareness.

It released a public service announcement and reached out at student orientations.

“I really like it,” Megan Barber said. “At my orientation, they really put an emphasis on it.”

UNM said it’s eliminating designated smoking areas, leaving only two near the dorms for those who also live on campus.

So, what happens if students, staff or even visitors don’t follow the rules?

“We’re trying to appeal to the goodwill of our community first,” said John Steiner, program manager for UNM’s Campus Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (COSAP).

If that doesn’t work, however, he said it could mean a $100 fine.

“We could get the police involved, and they are empowered to write citations to people,” Steiner said. “That’s kind of our last approach.”

Students who don’t smoke said it’s about time UNM enforced its policy.

“It’s not fun walking around campus and seeing the butts littered all over,” Cornelius Halgryn said.

“Being a nonsmoker, of course, that benefits me but a lot of my classmates are smokers, and I have to work with them,” Navida Johnson said.

She said UNM should keep designated smoking areas.

“I wish everyone would feel like they didn’t have to smoke, but people smoke and I think it’s only fair that they have a place to do it within the campus community,” Johnson said.

For anyone looking to quit smoking, UNM points out the state offers free resources.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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