University Health Services Director Sarah Van Orman met with Associated Students of Madison Coordination Committee Wednesday to discuss necessary changes to the campus’ smoking policy.
As it currently stands, UW’s smoking policy is not in compliance with Wisconsin state law regarding where people are allowed to smoke, Van Orman said. Though the university does enforce the state’s law, the university’s policy does not.
Beyond being one of several “necessary fixes” to reflect Wisconsin state law, Van Orman said UW’s smoke free policy should be updated so it is equivalent to other campuses’ policies.
“We are really focused on two different things; one are the immediate fixes that we want to move forward with, and then there’s the larger question of do we want to open a larger process of looking at the campus smoke free policy,” Van Orman said.
Van Orman said there are three “immediate fixes” UHS would like to make to update the current policy. The first change would be to ensure campus policy explicitly states smoking is not allowed within indoor facilities.
Secondly, Van Orman said they would like to make exceptions to cases when tobacco use would be permitted. Those exceptions, for example, would include religious ceremonies and theatrical productions.
The third change would include adding e-cigarettes onto the banned list. Van Orman said the university and the state do not include electronic smoking devices on their banned lists, but both have been “silent” on the matter.
Van Orman said electronic smoking devices are a “challenging area” because many smoking policies were written before they existed and there is not a firm stance against them.
ASM Coordinating Committee asked several questions about Wisconsin’s state law to clarify that though UW policy is currently not in compliance with the law, UW still has enforced it. For example, UW Athletics and university buildings do not allow smoking, but it’s not included in university policy.
Van Orman said the policy changes are not meant to make UW completely tobacco free.
Though Van Orman did not state when the changes are set to take place, ASM Chair Madison Laning said the changes were sent to Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Darrell Bazzell and should be made soon.