Temple plans to be tobacco-free campus by fall semester

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's official.

Temple University is going tobacco-free.

The looming ban on smoking and vaping come on the heels of a comprehensive report issued last year by the Presidential Smoke-free Campus Task Force that found the university should fall in line with other campuses in the region and ban all tobacco-related products.

"Tobacco is the single largest cause of preventable illness and death in this country," said College of Public Health Dean Siminoff, who also led the task force.

University health officials say as far as enforcement goes don't expect tickets because this is about changing, if not saving lives.

"We're not trying to punish. What we're really looking for is compassionate enforcement," said Associate Dean for Academic Affairs College of Public Health Jennifer Ibrahim.

Efforts will be made to educate students, faculty, and the community around the open campus for the next three years as part of the new policy.

"We are going for more of a culture change on campus. We're hoping that in a few years it's just going to be the norm," said senior Kirstin Chalupa.

It may be working.

Amanda McLaughlin says she's now considering quitting.

"I'm all 'coughy' and congested all the time, so I just think it would be better for myself to quit," she said.

But the reaction from other students has been mixed.

"People should be able to do what they want especially 'cause it's an open space like this," said freshman Adam Albarkawi.

"I'm happy with it. I think it's a good idea," said junior Julia Pievost.

Temple currently bans smoking within 25 feet of a building on campus, but students say they have rarely seen it enforced.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly half a million people die each year from smoking alone.

The task force reports also note Philadelphia has the second highest smoking rate among the 30 largest cities.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.