Smoking bans on college campuses to be White House initiative

The option to grab a quick smoke between classes may soon be long gone.

Several colleges nation-wide are moving to ban smoking on campus. The University of Oklahoma, the University of Oregon, Montgomery College and Montana State University are among the higher education institutions that have already imposed the campus-wide bans.

The University of California system announced in January that by 2014 all of its campuses would ban use or sale of cigarettes and chewing tobacco, USA Today reported.

The bans come ahead of an initiative by the White House for increased tobacco-free campuses. U.S. Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health, Howard Koh, will be on the University of Michigan campus on Wednesday announcing the White House initiative to get campuses to enact tobacco-free policies.

Advocacy group Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights reported that there were 774 college campuses across the nation with smoking bans as of July 1, including 562 that had banned tobacco use altogether, USA Today reported.

“It's not feasible to ban all together because how do you regulate the open air,” says student Andrew Mendelson.

How to enforce a smoking ban on an open campus in the middle of a big city is a big question. George Washington is studying the issue. A smoking ban is not a new concept at George Washington University. Most buildings have been smoke-free environments for some time.

Nevertheless 774 U.S. colleges and universities have total bans in place now.

At the University of Maryland, students can still smoke in open spaces. But College Park will be smoke free by next summer.

Callie Waggamon was on campus with a cigarette in her hand. She feels a campus ban on smoking is ridiculous.

“I think if I am at a certain distance away from doors windows and everything I should be able to,” Waggamon says. “It's kind of like shutting off a public street and saying I can't smoke on it.”