Smokers at UCLA are getting a course they didn't sign up for: an "educational" tobacco ban.
Starting Monday, students caught on the wrong end of a smoldering cigarette will be educated about the dangers of smoking and counseled to "seek treatment for tobacco dependence," according to the policy.
Students, staff and faculty alike are subject to the sweeping ban. It covers all University of California, Los Angeles property, including on-campus residences and off-campus sites. And it forbids tobacco products of all kinds -- cigarettes, cigars, water pipes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and any other preparation of the plant.
The ban comes after Mark Yudoff, president of the UC system, sent a January 2012 letter to chancellors asking them to craft smoke-free policies for their campuses within two years. UCLA was the first to do so following Yudoff's letter.
UCLA's policy mentions just two exceptions: Cigarettes can be smoked for university-approved research, or for "ceremonial use ... with prior approval of the sponsoring department, the UCLA Events Office and the Fire Marshal's Office."
A Tobacco Free Steering Committee is in charge of the educational aspect of the ban.
The campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin, reported that students who violate the ban won't be cited, but could eventually be subject to disciplinary action if they repeatedly break the rule. University employees could also face consequences, the paper reported.
In an editorial, the newspaper generally agreed with the ban and suggested that the educational aspect should be stepped up.
Officials with the university and the campus police department did not immediately return calls Monday morning.