JARED ANGLE / THE EAGLE
President Neil Kerwin may make a decision on passing a smoking ban on campus in the next few weeks to address issues of secondhand smoke.
Kerwin discussed the possibility of a smoking ban in his annual fall email, which is sent to the entire AU community.
The change in policy has not yet been finalized, AU Chief of Staff David Taylor said in an email.
The University is concerned about the potential environmental effects of secondhand smoking, Taylor said in an email.
“Environmental certifications standards have increasingly played a role in the conversation, especially as they affect LEED certification/building criteria,” Taylor said in an email.
Over the past few years, the University Council has discussed a possible ban. The council includes administration, faculty, staff and graduate and undergraduate student leaders.
The Council will work with the undergraduate and graduate student leaders to help implement any changes, Taylor said.
Student Government President Emily Yu said she met with the University Council in April. Yu’s major concerns are who will enforce the ban and how the ban will affect current student smokers.
“I would want to incorporate as much student voice as possible on the smoking ban issue,” Yu said.
SG decided against taking a position on the smoking ban, Yu said. However, SG plans to send a memorandum to the students discussing SG’s questions about student smokers and the ban’s effect on them.
“SG and the council surveyed AU students about smoking on campus in December, The Eagle reported in March. Of the students who responded to the survey, 47 percent of undergraduates wanted SG to “advocate that campus be smoke/tobacco free” and 53 percent of graduates supported the idea of AU as a smoke-free campus.
About 10 percent of the graduate students who participated in the survey identified as a non-smoker, according to the poll released to The Eagle.
College of Arts and Sciences junior Erin Randall said she supported a smoking ban.
“I think it would benefit a lot of the students on campus because of the health issue,” she said.
School of Communication junior Alex Matos said a smoking ban will not work.
“They tried to make it 25 feet from the door and that didn’t work,” he said, referring to the current smoking policy enacted in 2010 to discourage students from smoking near building entrances.
Taylor said the University will help students quit smoking if AU implements a smoking ban.
“I am confident there will be efforts extended and resources to assist anyone seeking to quit [smoking],” he said.
Approximately 774 U.S. colleges and medical campuses have smoke-free policies as of July. Of the 774 colleges, 562 are also 100 percent tobacco-free campuses, according to no-smoke.org.
Georgetown University Medical Center is the only D.C. campus to enact a complete smoke-free policy as of July.