The Iowa Smokefree Air Act

In accordance with the State of Iowa Smokefree Air Act, smoking is prohibited at Cornell College. All indoor and outdoor spaces are smoke free.

During the spring 2008 Iowa legislative session, the Smokefree Air Act was passed to protect the public’s health and the health of employees from the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke.  This law, which took effect July 1, affects all businesses in Iowa, including public and private educational institutions.  Cornell is required to comply with the law, inform our employees and students about it, and enforce the law.  Failure to do so could result in penalties for the college (such as fines or loss of eligibility for our students to receive state-funded financial aid and scholarships).  For more details on the new law, the Iowa Department of Public Health has provided a link on the Smokefree Air Act website at

This new law means several changes for our campus.  Smoking is prohibited on all college property, including inside and outside of our buildings, at athletic venues, and in the parking lots.  The law also restricts smoking inside vehicles in parking lots.  As dictated by the law, all ashtrays have been removed from the campus.  Also, signage specified by the law has been posted on building entrances denoting our smokefree status.

Effective implementation of this new policy begins with the courtesy, respect, and cooperation of all members of the Cornell community.  Cornell wishes to remain a good neighbor to the Mount Vernon community, and as such we discourage smoking on private residential property bordering the campus.

Thank you for being conscious of this new law and following the rules outlined by the Smokefree Air Act. If you have any questions, please email

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: If I am on campus, where is the nearest place I can smoke?

Smoking is allowed on city sidewalks and streets. You can smoke on sidewalks that run parallel with city streets including on First Street, Fifth Avenue, and 10th Avenue. You can also smoke on McGregor Lane near Pauley-Rorem.  Please ask a campus safety officer if you’re unsure if a street or sidewalk is city or college property.

Q: Where can I put my cigarette butts?

Cigarettes should be fully extinguished and the butts placed in outdoor trash receptacles. Leaving cigarette butts on the ground is considered littering, just like leaving a beverage container behind.  Please help keep our city and campus looking beautiful.

Q: Can I smoke in my car in the parking lot?

No, the law prohibits this.

Q: Can I smoke in the dorms?

No, the law and college policy prohibit this.

Q: Can I smoke in college-owned rental property or vehicles?

The law and college policy prohibit this.

Q:  Can I smoke in restaurants and bars?

No, the law prohibits this.

Q: Where can I put my cigarette butts?

Discarded cigarettes are litter and will be treated as such. Portable ashtrays are recommended. Please keep our city and campus looking beautiful.

Q: Can I smoke hookahs or other non-cigarette tobacco products?

No, this law defines smoking as burning any type of tobacco product including, but not limited to, cigarettes (commercial or handmade), cigars, cigarillos, pipes, and hookahs.

Q: How will this new law be enforced?

All faculty, staff, students and visitors are expected to comply with the policy and communicate it to their guests.  Complaints can be filed with Campus Safety.

Q: How can I approach someone who I see smoking?

Respectfully explain to the person that he or she is smoking in an area designated as smoke free. Do not engage in an argument. If you are challenged or otherwise confronted, walk away. You may also report violations of the smoking policy to Campus Safety at x4299 or x333.

Q: What if I’m caught smoking on college property?

For students, violations of the smokefree policy will be handled through the Cornell College judicial system. Offenses will carry escalating sanctions as follows:

1st offense: Warning

2nd offense: $50

3rd offense: $100

4th offense: $250 plus disciplinary action, up to and including removal from campus

For faculty and staff, violations will be handled as personnel matters by division heads, the director of human resources, and appropriate committees.

Q: How do I voice concerns about the law?

Visit for more information on public hearings and ways to comment on the law.

Q: What assistance is available if I want to quit smoking?

For students, contact the Student Health Center for an appointment with a nurse or a counselor to discuss smoking cessation.  You can also use the resource links listed below.

If you are a staff or faculty member, contact Human Resources at x4243 or for details about the different types of assistance available such as counseling through the Employee Assistance Program, obtaining nicotine patches through a 10-week program, and being connected with other employees experiencing smoking cessation.  Other smoking cessation programs, often free, are available through the following resources:

American Lung Association, Freedom From Smoking
QuitNet, Quit All Together
Quitline Iowa

Q: Could you tell me more about Quitline Iowa?

Quitline Iowa is a toll-free, statewide smoking cessation telephone counseling hotline. They provide free smoking cessation services to all Iowans (including students from other states). The Quitline will work with you to set up a quit plan and help you with coaching after you quit. You may also qualify for a free, two-week course of nicotine patches or gum. You can visit the Web site at or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) between:
•    Monday-Thursday 7 a.m. to Midnight
•    Friday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.
•    Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.