- Associated Press - Friday, October 30, 2015

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Cigarettes and other products containing nicotine will soon be banned on the Pullman campus of Washington State University, after the Board of Regents approved the ban on Friday.

The Pullman campus has around 20,000 students, who make up the majority of the population in the town of 30,000 people.

The ban, first proposed by students in 2014, makes the Pullman campus among about 1,100 in the nation that are tobacco and nicotine free. The ban goes into effect next fall.

WSU’s Spokane campus became tobacco free in 2012, and WSU Vancouver became a tobacco free campus in 2013. WSU Tri-Cities is in discussions to become tobacco free.

“Despite some objections, students, faculty and staff, when given the opportunity to give feedback, all expressed overwhelming support for this policy,” said WSU student regent Jansen VanderMeulen in a statement.

The rule would ban nicotine products in all university-owned buildings, vehicles, parking lots, sidewalks, streets and fields. That includes the Palouse Ridge golf course. There would be no designated smoking areas outside of buildings, as there have been since state law banned smoking within 25 feet of a public building entrance.

Smoking cessation services will be available through student health organizations and in conjunction with employees’ health insurance, school officials have said.

While the proposed rule calls for disciplinary action against students and employees who violate the ban, administrators don’t expect a big crackdown on smokers.

There are more than 1,600 smoke-free campuses in the nation and more than 1,100 are completely nicotine-free, according to the Tobacco Free College Campus Initiative.

Tobacco-free campuses in Washington include Clark College, Green River Community College, Lower Columbia College, North Seattle College, Pacific Lutheran University, Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, Seattle Pacific University, South Puget Sound Community College, Walla Walla Community College, Walla Walla University and Wenatchee Valley College.

According to the tobacco-free initiative, which was created by the U.S. Department of Health, 99 percent of smokers begin using tobacco by age 26.

In other action Friday, the regents:

- Approved the schematic design for a new police station at WSU Pullman, which will include offices, evidence rooms and weapons storage, locker rooms, records storage, a small kitchen and a conference room.

- Approved the WSU Pullman Global Animal Health Phase 2 project to proceed to design and pre-construction. The Global Animal Health Facility Phase 2 will house the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health disease detection and surveillance program. The Allen School is at the front line of the nation’s fight against foreign diseases, zoonotic diseases, and food-borne illness.

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