UI Police issue first tickets for smoking in a prohibited area

BY SCOTT RAYNOR | JULY 17, 2009 7:15 AM

UI police charged two with smoking in a prohibited area Tuesday, the first citations given out since the state’s smoking ban went into effect more than a year ago.

Between July 2008 and March, police found more than 140 people violating the smoking ban on campus. UI police usually approach violators and advise them of nearby areas where they can smoke, said Larry Langley, an associate director of the UI police.

“What we have been trying to do is educate the people to the change of the law,” he said.

Iowa City police Sgt. Kelsay said that to his knowledge, Iowa City police, which follow the same enforcement practices, have not charged anyone with a smoking violation.

“The goal is to modify the behavior and not to write a bunch of tickets,” he said.

Langley also did not think that the charges represented a change in the way the UI police enforce the smoking ban.

“I think the university will still make an effort to make the information available to the university community on campus,” Langley said, and he thinks the university has done a good job in informing the residents.

Julie Carter, 39, and Roger Letts, 43, were charged for smoking near Rienow.

Though UI nursing student Heather Humble doesn’t disagree with the smoking ban, she said, “I don’t know if I take it seriously.

“It looks bad,” she said, and it reflects poorly on the UI Hospitals and Clinics, an organization promoting good health.

Gov. Chet Culver signed the Smoke-Free Air Act in April 2008. The ban outlawed smoking in businesses, public parks, on public- and state-school property, and during special public events, such as parades.

The law took effect in July 2008, a year before UI officials had planned to ban smoking on campus as a school policy.

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