The university announced earlier this year that it would begin a yearlong transition to become totally smoke-free in late fall. Administration selected Nov. 19 to coincide with the national recognition of the American Heart Association’s Great American Smokeout, which promotes tobacco use cessation throughout the country.

Rather than ask its employees and students to quit cold turkey, UofL will begin a phase-out of smoking on its Belknap and Shelby campuses. The Health Sciences Center campus has been smoke-free since 2004.

As of Nov. 19, there will be 18 designated smoke areas on Belknap Campus. Smoking will be prohibited elsewhere on campus. Smokers who use city sidewalks are prohibited from being within 50 feet of an entrance to any university building.

In prohibiting smoking, UofL joins more than 300 campuses throughout the country in being smoke-free or tobacco-free.

The move to smoke-free status is an effort to create a healthier environment for both smokers and non-smokers, according to Provost Shirley Willihnganz.

As a university committed to our students, faculty and staff, we are emphasizing the health benefits of not smoking, Willihnganz said. We will support our members of our university community in their efforts to give up smoking through classes, support groups, and – in some cases – with nicotine replacement to help them make the transition.

The Kentucky Cancer Program at UofL’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center will have some special activities Thursday for the Great American Smoke-out and for the start of the university’s smoke-free status.

Also starting Thursday, faculty, staff and students can check the Smoke-Free UofL website for information on designated smoking area locations, answers to frequently asked questions, smoking cessation classes, nicotine replacement therapies and national and local resources to help smokers quit. There will be a link to the site from UofL Today.