This news seems ironic considering that tobacco is still a major agricultural product of the state.

Andrew Shain of Greenville Online reports.

USC to be smoke-free on Jan. 1

The University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus will go tobacco-free on Jan. 1, school president Harris Pastides announced Friday.

USC will join at least 10 other schools in South Carolina — the nation’s fifth-largest tobacco-growing state — that already ban smoking or all tobacco products, including chewing tobacco. Another five S.C. colleges, including Clemson and Benedict College, are considering bans.

Since 2006, USC has banned tobacco use within 25 feet of buildings and outdoor seating areas, including patios.

A campus-wide ban means fans tailgating at the former State Farmer s Market site or in school-owned parking lots, around basketball’s Colonial Life Arena and baseball’s Carolina Stadium, cannot light up cigarettes or chew tobacco.

Despite word around campus to the contrary, the ban will be enforced, Pastides said at Friday’s USC board of trustees meeting.

However, Pastides said he prefers university officers and the school’s nearly 40,000 faculty, employees and students offer reminders of the ban and ask tobacco users to attend stop-smoking programs to disciplining or ticketing violators.

“It will be imperfectly enforced,” he said. “This isn’t about how many people we catch. It’s about how many behaviors we could change. … This will be enforced in a gentle way.”