When the University of Kentucky campus goes smoke-free on Nov. 19, there's about a 4-foot wide loophole where people could still smoke.
It's the city sidewalks. The university's jurisdiction to ban smoking on campus stops at the edge of the sidewalk.
Anthany Beatty, assistant vice president for campus services, asked the Urban County Council at its Tuesday work session to allow UK to enforce its tobacco-free policy "to the curb." This would apply to sidewalks immediately adjacent to the main campus.
The council voted to put the resolution on its Oct. 22 docket for a first reading.
Never miss a local story.
The university's medical center went smoke-free in November 2008, but people stand on the sidewalk to smoke, Beatty said.
The ban would cover students, faculty, staff, visitors, people making deliveries, "everyone who comes to our campus," Beatty said. He and Ellen J. Hahn, professor and director of the Tobacco Policy Research Program, are co-chairs of the campus ban.
One-fourth of Kentuckians smoke; the national average is 18 percent.
"We understand this is going to be a cultural change," Beatty said of the ban.
Other universities that have campus-wide smoking bans include the University of Arkansas, the University of South Carolina and Indiana University, Beatty said. The University of Louisville and the University of Florida go smoke-free in 2010.
UK will provide nicotine cessation programs and products "at a much reduced price on campus for students," Beatty said.
Councilwoman Linda Gorton asked whether the ban will apply to fraternity and sorority houses.
"We own the land, and they will be covered" by the prohibition, Beatty said. Basically, "any property owned and operated by the university" will not allow smoking.
When UK banned alcohol on campus, it drove students' parties into surrounding neighborhoods, Councilwoman Diane Lawless said.
"When UK goes smoke free, are we going to be its ashtray?" she asked.
Councilman Tom Blues, a retired UK professor, said he remembered a time "when students and professors smoked in classrooms" in "blissful and dangerous ignorance."