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UAA to consider campus-wide smoking ban

By Lauren Maxwell 7:21 PM February 24, 2014

Surveys say 75 percent of students would vote for the ban

ANCHORAGE - Students at the University of Alaska Anchorage are getting ready for a big vote — whether or not the campus should go smoke free.

Right now students can smoke as long as they remain at least 20 feet away from the buildings. There are also designated smoking areas outdoors, all of which would go away if the campus-wide ban were put in place.

The ban would affect every area on campus, even the parking lots. It would cover all types of smoking, including e-cigarettes.

It would not cover is chewing tobacco, although eventually some students say would like to ban that too.

The effort is getting support from a big name. Dr. Patrick O’Carroll is the U.S. assistant surgeon general and is visiting UAA to promote the idea of going smoke free.

“We lose thousands and thousands of people to smoking every day,” O’Carroll said. ”And it is a completely preventable epidemic. We’ve been working on it a long time, we’ve made great progress, but we’ve got to get to zero.”

Students will take an advisory vote on April 8. After that it’s up to UAA Chancellor Tom Case to make the final decision.

Case has yet to take a position on the issue, but he has said it is important to have the conversation.

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