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U of M at Duluth is first to ban smoking

DULUTH -- As of Sept. 1, the University of Minnesota Duluth will not allow smoking on campus.

The school will be the first higher education institution in the state to test out a smoking ban on its property. Minnesota State University-Moorhead approved a ban last spring that will go into effect in January.

"I think we do want to be a leader in environmental health and safety," said Katherine Morris, UMD's director of health services. "And the data is in that secondhand smoke is dangerous to the public."

The decision, adopted by UMD administration this week, was made based on recommendations from student, faculty and staff committees, said Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin.

Those committees studied the issue, held forums and polled students, faculty and staff about on-campus smoking over the past two years.

"We've had the 25-foot rule for a couple of years," Martin said.

"It really doesn't do the trick. If we were going to do this, and we had to do this, it was time."

The university has had a policy for two years saying smokers must remain 25 feet from an open window, entrances to buildings and air supply vents.

With the enforcement of a statewide indoor smoking ban for most public places looming in the fall, it made sense to push for a campus ban, said Brianna Peters, a senior leader in the effort.