Smoke-free is the way to be on North Central College's campus starting Dec. 1.
The college in Naperville is implementing a smoking ban on college-owned and leased property including residence halls, the fine arts center and the football stadium as a way to promote, health, wellness and environmental sustainability, administrators say.
The move follows the effective date of a state law earlier this year that required all public colleges and universities to prohibit smoking on their property. North Central is not governed by that law because it's a private institution.
Still, Jeremy Gudauskas, associate dean of students, said student leaders have been working for two years to study, write and now implement a policy that prohibits smoking, tobacco and e-cigarette use on campus land.
"We knew the state law was coming and we had already been in the process of crafting a policy," he said. "We wanted to align as closely as we could with the July 1 law for public schools."
The smoke-free policy is an extension of the indoor smoking ban effective statewide since 2008.
"This just expands that to be the entire campus boundaries," Gudauskas said.
Smoking still will be allowed on sidewalks, since they're public property. The college is placing smoking urns with ashtrays along some sidewalks and encouraging anyone who chooses to smoke there to be respectful of neighbors.
Gudauskas said campus safety workers aren't the only ones expected to enforce the policy. Anyone who sees smoking on campus is encouraged to "politely inform" the violator of the rule.
"We're hoping to develop a culture of compliance using awareness and education to be the best way we enforce the policy," Gudauskas said.
Students repeatedly violating the rule can be punished through the student discipline process, faculty through human resources and visitors can be asked to leave campus if they are "blatantly noncompliant," he said.
A list of answers to frequently asked smoke-free questions and a link to resources that can help smokers quit is online at northcentralcollege.edu/smokefreenc. The college's Dyson Wellness Center is ready to assist if the policy leads to more people aiming to stop smoking.
"In the event that someone wants to quit, we wanted to provide enough resources by which they could do that," Gudauskas said.
Before the smoke-free requirement for public colleges and universities July 1, Elgin Community College went smoke-free at the end of March, Harper Community College and College of Lake County enacted a ban Jan. 1, College of DuPage did so Aug. 6, 2012 and McHenry County College on Oct. 1, 2011.