WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — The University of California Los Angeles is officially tobacco-free as of Earth Day 2013.
Beginning Monday, tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and electronic cigarettes, will be banned from the school’s campus.
“Cigarette butts, which are non-biodegradable, account for one-third of all the litter in California,” Chancellor Gene Block said in an Oct. 2012 letter. “Cigarette butts and cigarette smoke are toxic and degrade the quality of our air, water, forests and beaches.”
UCLA is the first UC school to prohibit tobacco use on campus. The ban is part of a wider plan across the UC system to purge tobacco use across all campuses by 2014.
“It’s a historic day for UCLA and also for all the University of California,” Linda Sarna, Chairperson of the Tobacco Free Policy at UCLA, told KNX 1070′s Vytas Safronikas.
UCLA’s Health Science campus went smoke-free in Nov. 2011.
Block said the ban will “promote the well-being of our entire community through research, education and practice in such areas as nutrition, physical activity, environment and stress management.”
“I feel great, it’s great, I feel clean air through my lungs,” one student said.
Those caught using tobacco products on campus after the ban goes into effect will be penalized, officials said. Offenders will also receive educational resources and nicotine replacement starter kits.