East Carolina University is changing their smoking policy

East Carolina University is changing their smoking policy. (Photo: Greg Payne)

East Carolina University is changing their smoking policy. Pretty soon, smokers will have to stay 100 feet away from buildings on campus when enjoying their cigarettes.

"You could fill up our football stadium here at ECU almost 10 times over every year with the number of people who die prematurely from tobacco products," Joseph Lee, Assistant Professor for Health Education and Promotion, said.

Lee says this is the second change to the policy in the last decade. The last time the policy was updated was in 2008, when the university adopted the 25 foot rule. Still, some students don't think the policy update will have much of an impact at the university.

"You might have a test, a teacher stress you out -- something," senior Ayesha Stoddard said. "You may want a cigarette, so the whole campus being smoke-free -- that is not an option."

Luckily for Stoddard, that is not actually an option under ECU's new policy.

"What we've adopted is the strongest possible policy that we are able to adopt under state law," Lee said. "This is not about going out and being like 'ohm we got you and we want to punish you with this' -- [it's] very much about inspiring a healthier campus."

The new policy is said to be enforced strictly, but to on-campus smokers like Stoddard, that's not something to worry about.

"For the non-smokers who, if they are walking out the door and if they are 25 feet, it's still a chance that the wind may blow the smoke in their face," Stoddard said. "I understand them extending it further, I do."

The policy goes into effect on July 1. As part of the change, the health sciences campus will be smoke-free and that includes all tobacco products. The health sciences campus will now join more than 1,100 tobacco-free campuses nationwide. 47 of those campuses are in North Carolina.

To view the new policy in its entirety, visit the East Carolina University Policy Manual.

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