Police say no penalty for new ban

The new tobacco-free initiative is based on an educational approach, and police said they will only verbally enforce the ban.

There are no procedures for enforcing the initiative in the tobacco free policy statement.

Blue signs on UVM’s campus warn smokers of the health risks and the new ban of all tobacco products on campus.

“This University wants to be healthy and aid students in having good experiences, there’s nothing positive tobacco can contribute to that,” said Tom Gustafson, vice president of university relations and administration.

UVM recently joined nearly 15,000 other public and private universities across the United States who banned tobacco usage.

“If you want to smoke, you can’t do it here,” Gustafson said about the recently enacted tobacco ban on campus.

The smoking ban was put in place by Gustafson,  professor of medicine Jan Carney and their team from university relations who designed the social media profile and signs on campus.

UVM police services Deputy Chief Tim Bilodeau said this policy is for the most part peer enforced.

If a police officer sees somebody smoking on campus, the only thing they can do is “tell them to go to the sidewalk [off campus] or put it out,” Bilodeau said.

In addition to the campus and online presence, the signs also advertise resources to help smokers quit for free.

Students and employees are allowed to smoke on Burlington city property, but not University property, according to the ban.

“You’re never more than a couple minutes walk from a city sidewalk if you really need to smoke,” Gustafson said.

He said if a student sees somebody smoking on campus and they are uncomfortable, they should approach them and kindly point to the ban.

As for Gustafson’s view of the rights of smokers and nonsmokers on campus, he cites other bans on pets, open containers and guns on campus to back up his argument.