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University of Iowa News Release


April 26, 2007

Fethke Accepts Smoking Panel Proposals, Eyes July 2008 Campuswide Ban

University of Iowa Interim President Gary Fethke has approved all recommendations of a committee charged with reviewing campus smoking policies, with the exception of a proposal to ban smoking on all grounds by July 1, 2009. Fethke would like to study whether the campuswide ban could be implemented a full year earlier -- by July 1, 2008.

Fethke has charged Susan Buckley, associate vice president for finance and operations; Susan Johnson, associate provost for faculty; and Joni Troester, director of UI Wellness, to consult with faculty, staff, and student leaders to determine whether a total campus ban is appropriate and if the campus could become entirely smoke free as early as next year.

This period of consultation will extend through Dec. 1, 2007, and will also address how to best obtain compliance with a potential campuswide smoking ban and how to promote UI resources for helping current smokers quit. Buckley, Johnson and Troester will solicit opinions from campus governance groups, will hold at least one open forum in the fall, and invite comments and suggestions via e-mail at The only addition to the recommendations was Fethke's announcement that the grounds surrounding the Field House will immediately be deemed smoke free as part of the Health Sciences campus.

Fethke also named Troester to chair a working group that will implement by this July 1 the 25-foot perimeter ban on buildings not already covered by smoke-free policies previously adopted by UI Hospitals and Clinics and the Health Sciences campus. 

The full report is available online at

Fethke thanked the Smoking Policy Review Committee for developing positive solutions for a complex health and social problem.

"The committee and its leaders faced a difficult but necessary challenge that will go a long way toward promoting and protecting the health of the University of Iowa's faculty, staff, students and many visitors," Fethke said. "They recognized that it's not enough to tell people they cannot smoke, and that the university has an obligation to help people addicted to tobacco products kick the habit."

The committee's recommendations include:

--All residents of University Apartments who wish to live in a smoke-free building should be accommodated by the beginning of the fall 2007 semester. All buildings will be smoke free by fall 2008.

--On-stage performances should stop using tobacco products and instead use tobacco-free substitutes as soon as an acceptable substitute is available.

--The current restriction of a 25-foot, smoke-free perimeter around entrances to and exits from buildings should be expanded on July 1, 2007, to a 25-foot perimeter around the entire perimeter of all campus buildings, including athletic facilities, parking ramps and enclosed parking facilities.

--A broad range of educational activities is needed to create awareness of the regulations and expectations for behavior.

--Resources to assist with smoking cessation should continue to be available to all members of the campus community.

-- The Iowa House is already smoke free so no further action needed there.

Former UI President David Skorton created the ad hoc committee in December 2005 to revisit the university smoking policy. Since its first meeting in February 2006, the committee has solicited feedback from across campus through open forums with students, faculty and staff; input via email; and contact with the three major governance groups and top administrators. The committee also examined scientific literature on the risks posed to people exposed to second-hand smoke and benchmarked other higher education institutions regarding smoking policies.

On Feb. 28, 2006, the committee recommended that the Health Science colleges be allowed to proceed with developing a plan for a smoke-free health science campus policy. On Aug. 14, with Fethke's approval, the committee announced an interim measure that no smoking be allowed within 25 feet of all occupied campus building entrances and exits, to include enclosed parking ramp stair towers, elevators, and their lobbies not already covered by the UI Hospitals and Clinics campus smoke-free policy.

The committee forwarded its recommendations to Fethke in December 2006.

The committee is composed of Buckley; Nancy Davin (Staff Council appointee), administrative assistant II, Student Health Service; Susan Johnson, associate provost for faculty, Office of the Provost; Wilfrid Nixon (Faculty Senate appointee), professor, civil-environmental engineering; Amanda Russell (Student Government appointee), graduate student, Health Management and Policy; and Troester (presidential appointee).

STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000.

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott,, phone 319-335-0552, cell 319-530-6972