The state’s department of health awarded UF with its first Tobacco Free Florida Smoke Free Certification on Wednesday.
UF’s residence halls and graduate apartment complex, The Continuum, received certification through the pilot program, which recognizes buildings that establish non-smoking policies.
“We’re honored that we have been chosen to be the beginning of this new anti-tobacco initiative in the state,” said UF president Bernie Machen.
Norb Dunkel, the UF associate vice president and director of housing and residence education, said designated smoking areas within buildings were established in 1985.
In 1992, smoking was prohibited in all buildings but allowed outdoors.
Eventually, UF declared the entire campus tobacco-free in 2010.
Although some people smoke on campus despite the rule, Student Body President Christina Bonarrigo said it’s rare and hasn’t been a major problem.
To enforce the no-smoking policy, UF prefers to rely on peer pressure rather than official regulation, said Florida Bridgewater-Alford, campus communications outreach director. If a person refuses to comply with UF’s policy, disciplinary actions can be taken.
Bonarrigo said the tobacco-free program emphasizes the health risks of smoking and secondhand smoke.
“It’s no secret that Gators take pride in their achievements,” said Bonarrigo. “[The certification] is in sync with our pursuit of excellence.”