UNLV adding outdoor areas to ban on smoking in public places

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada’s largest university is going smoke-free, going beyond the state’s existing law against smoking in most indoor public places by expanding it to include outdoor areas.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas policy announced Friday and taking effect Aug. 15 in time for the fall 2022 semester also applies to vaping.

The pandemic played a role in the policy’s approval last fall by a university policy committee,b y heightening awareness of respiratory illnesses, officials said.

Once the new policy takes effect, designated smoking areas outside buildings such as the Thomas & Mack Center, an arena, will go away, said Shawn Gerstenberger, dean of the School of Public Health at UNLV.

Enforcement will start with education and be handled for students by the Office of Student Conduct and by supervisors for university employees, Gerstenberger told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“We’re not gonna police this like they’re criminals or anything,” he said, adding that the aim is to support healthy behavior. “We’re not going to have the cigarette or vape police running around on campus.”

UNLV joins about 2,000 universities across the country in going smoke-free, according to the School of Public Health.