SC bill clarifies colleges can ban smoking

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A House panel has advanced a bill clarifying that South Carolina's colleges can go smoke-free.

The measure specifies in state law that college boards can ban smoking on campus. At least five universities and nine technical colleges in South Carolina have enacted smoke-free campus policies.

Rep. Chip Limehouse's bill would add the clause to state law that already bans smoking in public schools, government buildings and hospitals. It advanced Wednesday to the education committee.

Medical University of South Carolina officials say the bill clarifies its board's authority in case of any challenge. Its campus-wide smoke-free policy took effect March 1, following board approval last August. The policy applies to students, employees and hospital patients anywhere on campus, including parking lots.

Officials say it puts the school's health mission into practice.

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