UCLA To Become First Tobacco-Free UC Campus (VIDEO)

11/01/2012 06:44 pm ET

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UCLA is set to become the first tobacco-free campus in the University of California system. It's part of a UC-wide initiative to go completely tobacco-free by 2014, in compliance with UC president Mark Yudoff's request.

UCLA's ban begins April 22 2013, or Earth Day, and it applies to cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes on all UC-leased or owned facilities.

In a letter dated Jan. 9, Yudoff explained that enforcement should be "primarily educational," and emphasize ways to quit the habit.

Indeed, students' health is the number one reason for the ban, explained Linda Sarna, a professor at the UCLA School of Nursing. In an interview with NBC LA, Sarna said, "We know the combination of both using some medication and social support is the gold standard" for kicking the nicotine habit.

"We know that it’s going to have a positive health outcome and it’s not going to be about a police presence," she continued. "It’s going to be about providing education and support." UCLA's health sciences campus and hospitals have already been tobacco-free since Nov. 2011.

The university, which has about 40,000 students, joins 800 other campuses nationwide that have banned tobacco products. It also has some at nearby USC wondering if their school will adopt a similar ban.

In July, Santa Monica's city council approved an ordinance that bans smoking in all apartments and condominiums. Pasadena also has a similar law, which is slated to go into effect by 2013.

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