KANSAS CITY — As of Aug. 1, the University of Missouri-Kansas City will enforce a smoking ban on all university-owned or leased property.
The ban encompasses indoor and outdoor sites on every UMKC campus, including the sidewalks and in parking garages. It's an expansion of the basic smoking ban in all campus facilities that the university imposed last summer.
University officials said the policy was prompted by the increasing use of e-cigarettes on campus, a commitment to health and complaints about smokers gathering outside building entrances, The Kansas City Star reported.
"There literally were places where people had to walk through a haze of smoke to get into a building," said Robert Simmons, associate vice chancellor at UMKC.
A university survey found 14 percent of UMKC students and 7.9 percent of faculty smoke. Simmons said a majority of the campus population supports the smoking ban, which will also include e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and hookahs.
A report issued by Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights this month said 1,372 U.S. colleges and universities have adopted a smoke-free policy across their campuses. It also said 938 schools, including MU and the University of Central Missouri, have banned all forms of tobacco use.
"We expect this number to continue to climb rapidly as a result of the growing social norm supporting smoke-free environments and support from within the academic community for such policies for campus health and well-being," said Cynthia Hallett of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights.
UMKC's upcoming smoking ban does not include penalties. Simmons said the university can't afford to hire more campus police officers to cite smokers.
"Evidence shows that these good citizen policies are successful," he said. "That's not to say there won't be some grumpy people."