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All 10 UC campuses to become smoke-free

January 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
All 10 of the University of California campuses are set to become smoke-free over the next two years, and the ban extends to products in addition to cigarettes.

Only about 8 percent of UC students smoke, and 10 percent of UC employees smoke, which is below the national average, but there were still a number of people who were surprised by the news of the campus-wide ban on smoking and chewing tobacco.

UC Irvine student Steven Frenda has a smoke when he takes a break from studying. He says he's careful about where he lights up on campus, knowing many people don't want to breathe in his smoke.

"I try to go out of my way to stay out of their way so that I'm not bothering them," he said.

Frenda will have to leave campus altogether to smoke or chew tobacco when the new ban goes into effect in 2014.

While some don't want to face the fact of a campus-wide smoking ban, others can't wait.

"I think it will be great because I don't like smoking, and I don't like smoke. I don't like breathing it," said Sarah Apke, a UC Irvine student.

UC Irvine officials say no tobacco products are sold on campus. Smoking is already banned inside campus buildings and lighting up within 25 feet of entrances is also off limits.

"If you walk around campus, you find very few people smoking," said UC Irvine spokesman Tom Vasich. "This is just another step in helping improve public health."

Some students think going entirely smoke-free is too drastic.

"I think it would be nice if they maybe just banned it in most places and had some designated areas where people could smoke, that would be my preference," Frenda said.

Officials it's too early to say how the ban will be enforced.