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Aug 22, 2013 04:30 AM EDT

Auburn University will be joining nearly 1,200 colleges and universities county-wide, banning smoking on campus. A new policy that takes effect Aug.21 vows to transform the university into a smoke-free campus.

The new policy was suggested by the Campus Health and Wellness Committee and representative bodies. It was approved by President Jay Gogue. Apart from students, faculty and staff members, the policy will also be applicable for consultants, contractors and visitors.

In 2012, the university authorities asked tobacco users to smoke 25 feet away from all university buildings and facilities and prior to this, smoking was prohibited in the campus buildings. Efforts to introduce a smoke-free place have been ongoing since 2010.

"On Aug. 21, the smoking prohibition will be expanded to cover all university grounds, university-owned vehicles and property leased to or managed by the university with the exceptions of: controlled research, or educational, theatrical or religious ceremonial purposes, with prior approval from the dean or director responsible for the facility; and privately owned vehicles on campus and locations outside of the Auburn University campus perimeter."

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Currently, the authorities are getting rid of exterior ashtrays in designated smoking areas on campus and are placing some of them to the campus periphery for smokers to extinguish their cigarettes or other tobacco products when they enter campus.

Individuals who violate the policy will be asked to discard their tobacco product immediately. And repeat offenders will be subjected to disciplinary actions outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, Faculty Handbook and the Human Resource policies in the University Policy Database.

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