Kenai Peninsula College prepares to go smoke-free

KENAI — The University of Alaska system’s ban on tobacco products will go into effect by the end of the year, including at Kenai Peninsula College campuses and extension sites.

The new policy, which includes e-cigarettes, will take effect Nov. 19 on most University of Alaska campuses. But KPC, the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Prince William Sound College won’t enforce the new rule until Jan. 1, The Peninsula Clarion reported.

KPC Director Gary Turner said the change may be especially difficult for one KPC campus, because of where it’s located.

“I believe the transition to the new policy will be difficult particularly since (the Kenai River Campus) does not have a nearby public sidewalk and we’re surrounded by 309 acres (of forest),” he said. “On the positive side it is hoped this will lead more tobacco users to attempt to quit.”

Kenai River Campus Student Union President Jayce Robertson said last year, before the UA Board of Regents approved the policy change, the union polled nearly 300 students and more than 90 percent of them opposed the ban.

There are currently about 2,600 students enrolled at the college in distance learning and on-campus courses, Turner said.

The UA Board of Regents approved the policy change in December 2014, which also includes a $50 fine for littering tobacco-related materials.

When the ban takes effect, the Alaska schools will be among more than 1,600 U.S. colleges and universities that have gone smoke free.

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Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com

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