Look twice before lighting up on college campuses

One of the first things you see when you drive into Hannibal-LaGrange University's campus is this smoke free sign. A sign Sarah Ellis will have to obey once she starts her first semester there in August.

"It's a little frustrating, but honestly, almost everything is going smoke-free and I kind of understand why because there are a lot of people that don't smoke and they don't like the smell of smoke, they don't like to walk through the smoke," Ellis said. "You know it's healthier as far as the second hand smoke."

College campuses nationwide are going smoke free. The Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights reports campus tobacco bans have risen from virtually zero a decade ago to more than 700 today. The ban movement is driven by the health risks of secondhand smoke. The Hannibal-LaGrange campus has been smoke-free for years.

"There's really nothing in our Baptist or Christian doctrine that says you can't smoke but we just don't think that it represents us in the most positive light possible," Vice President for Enrollment Management at Hannibal LaGrange University, Ray Carty said. "And we just don't think because of the health hazards and safety hazards that it's good for students to participate."

Hannibal-LaGrange wants to encourage its students to not smoke. So much that the school's handbook states students can not use tobacco, even off campus, while representing the school.

In Quincy, John Wood Community College is not entirely smoke free.

"We have designated smoking areas on the campus so we do allow smoking on the campus, not in any of our buildings, but we do have some areas marked on the backside of some of our campus buildings," John Wood Community College Chief of Police, Bill LaTour said.

Students used to be able to smoke anywhere outside on campus as long as they were 50 feet away from buildings. The problem was, no one actually knew where the 50 feet began. In 2010 the college implemented the designated smokers areas.

"The number of complaints that we've had about people smoking where they're not supposed to smoke and the number of violations have just gone drastically down," LaTour said.

Quincy University, Culver-Stockton College and Western Illinois University all ban smoking inside campus buildings, but all four institutions allow smoking outside.