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On Earth Day, UCLA becomes first UC to institute tobacco ban

On Earth Day, UCLA becomes first UC to institute tobacco ban
A courtyard behind Kerckhoff Hall is a popular gathering place for UCLA students. The campus is now tobacco-free.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Tobacco users on the UCLA campus will have to find a new place to light up as the university enacted its tobacco ban on Earth Day.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block announced the change last October following a call from UC President Mark Yudof to go smoke-free across the UC system by 2014.

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The Westwood campus’ new policy will prohibit “cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco and all other forms of tobacco, as well as e-cigarettes,” according to a statement on the school website.

“Implementing a tobacco-free policy beginning on Earth Day will underscore the benefits that this new policy will bring to the well-being of our entire community,” Block said in a letter to campus, later adding: “This is the right time to go tobacco-free.”

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More than 1,000 colleges and universities have adopted tobacco-free or smoke-free policies, according to an article on the school’s website.

UCLA is the first UC campus to go tobacco-free, and smokers and tobacco-users on campus will be provided with services to help them quit, the report said. Tobacco users can pick up nicotine patches, for example, and receive free counseling as well as participate in wellness and cessation programs.

Block said in the letter that the tobacco ban comes in conjunction with an initiative to “promote the well-being of our entire community through research, education and practice in such areas as nutrition, physical activity, environment and stress management.”

“Becoming tobacco-free,” Block wrote, “is integral to our ultimate goal of becoming the healthiest college campus in the country.”

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