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Five Years Later, Ohio State Doesn't Know If Smoking Ban Worked

Nuh Omar

It’s been five years since The Ohio State University imposed a ban on all tobacco products and smoking anywhere on campus. 

The smoking policy says those caught repeatedly violating the ban can face appropriate disciplinary action. Its aim was to encourage faculty, staff, students and visitors to become tobacco-free.

But it's been difficult to track the progress. For one, Ohio State doesn't strictly enforce the ban.

Instead, it relies on signs and other employees to remind people about the policy.

"Ohio State strives to create a culture that encourages compliance through education and communication in support of a healthy campus environment," says spokesperson Ben Johnson.

Johnson says the university also doesn’t have a complete tally on the number of students, faculty and staff who have sought help to stop smoking. Some of the resources are off-campus and do not provide numbers. 

"The intent of the policy is to support individuals to be tobacco-free, achieve their highest state of health, and to graduate students into their careers at a high level of health and well-being," Johnson says.

Despite the lack of enforcement, Johnson says the Office of Human Resources generally receives fewer than 10 complaints per year.