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NDSU president says he'll likely sign campus smoking ban

North Dakota State University President Dick Hanson said Thursday he will likely sign a campus smoking ban that received support from the University Senate this week.

The smoking policy, approved 35-24 by the university's governing body, would ban smoking for all outdoor areas of campus.

Hanson said he supports the policy, but he first wants to talk to vice presidents and others on campus to discuss enforcement of such a ban.

"It's very likely that I'll sign it," Hanson said.

Amy Rupiper Taggart, president-elect of the University Senate, said those who opposed the policy were primarily concerned about enforcement.

Some also thought a policy would affect staff more severely because many have less flexibility to leave campus than students and faculty do, Rupiper Taggart said.

NDSU currently prohibits smoking 50 feet from doorways.

The proposal would ban all smoking on university property. It does not prohibit chewing tobacco.

The proposal has exemptions for private companies in the Research and Technology Park, the Northern Crops Institute, Newman Outdoor Field and other private entities.

Outdoor smoking would be permitted at North Dakota Research and Extension Centers around the state.

Shawn Affolter, a student member of the University Senate who supported the ban, said students took the initiative to push for this policy.

More than 60 percent of students who voted in an opinion poll last spring supported a smoking ban.

How quickly a smoking ban could take effect is unclear.

Hanson said once he's reviewed it, he would want to allow enough time to put up signs and get the word out about the new policy.

Hanson, who became NDSU's interim president Dec. 1, had experience with a smoking ban at Waldorf College in Iowa, where he previously was president.

There, the policy was self-enforced, which is likely how NDSU would handle it, Hanson said.

"The community has to enforce it," Hanson said. "We're not going to have cigarette cops around writing tickets for people who violate the ban."