Business/Nonprofits / University

Mixed student reactions on university, statewide smoking policies

Photo Illustration by Arin Bisaro

Photo Illustration by Arin Bisaro

As Central Michigan University prepares to enact its tobacco-free policy in July, students are decidedly mixed over the policy itself and smoking in general.

CMU announced in October that it is changing its smoking policy to ban the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, cigars, hookahs, waterpipes, snus and snuff on campus, with exceptions carved out for theatrical productions and religious or cultural ceremonies. Smoking will only be allowed on campus inside of private vehicles with windows rolled up.

“I’m a smoker, and I hate (the new policy),” said Detroit senior Bryan Boatner. “My biggest issue is how are you going to enforce it? It’s going to make a lot of people upset, and I don’t see how this can really be enforced. Are you just going to knock on car doors and tell people to stop? It doesn’t make sense.”

The policy will be enforced with what CMU calls a “good neighbor initiative,” relying on the campus community to remind each other of the policy if they were to see someone breaking it.

The university cited a February 2013 study it conducted showing 70 percent of its 4,700 respondents favoring a smoking ban.

“We want this to be a culture that supports health, so we support having a policy making that statement,” Associate Vice President of Human Resources Lori Hella told Central Michigan Life shortly after the policy was unveiled.

The current policy allows smoking to take place a minimum of 25 feet from building entrances, windows and air intake valves.

“I don’t smoke on campus, and I don’t encourage it, but the policy change is, in my view, unnecessary,” said Grand Rapids senior Jeff Malinowski. “The previous policy works as is.”

The policy change comes at a time when smoking and selling tobacco products have come under fire. CVS/Pharmacy announced earlier this year that it would stop selling tobacco products in its stores, including its Mount Pleasant location, by Oct. 1.

The State of Michigan banned smoking in most public places in May 2010. The Food and Drug Administration has ramped up its anti-smoking campaign in recent years, including the launch of a graphic, $115 million advertising campaign targeted at dissuading teens from smoking.

CMU’s policy is designed to promote campus-wide health, University President George Ross said earlier this year.

“The health and well-being of all students and employees is a top priority,” Ross said. “We want to provide everyone with a chance to attend school, live and work in a safe and healthy environment.”

CMU joins the University of Michigan, Saginaw Valley State University and Delta College, among others, to go tobacco-free.

Sterling Heights senior Ashley Rowe, who previously attended Macomb Community College, which has a similar smoking ban, said she has “mixed” feelings about the policy.

While she said she sympathizes with the university with regards to being smoke-free, she has an issue with having to smoke in private vehicles with the windows rolled up.

“To be in your car with the windows up, that’s even more unhealthy for whoever might be in that car than just smoking outside,” Rowe said.

10 Comments

  1. Yes, because forcing students to smoke in the cars with the windows UP will make them smell even better when they get to class.

    Y’all really care about students not having to breath that smell in when a smoker sits next to someone in class? Then forcing them to smoke in the car with the windows up make absolutely no sense.

    I would love…LOVE to hear an administrator’s explanation as to how forcing them to smoke like that is going to be better for the students once he/she makes it to class. They’re going to smell ten times worse.

  2. Isn’t “decidedly mixed” an oxymoron?

    My only concern about the new policy is that it will not be enforced. As far as I can see, it is really no change at all.

  3. Penny Nichols says:

    Why would e-cigarettes be banned? Some don’t even have nicotine. If nicotine is banned, why is caffein allowed? Who decided this was a good idea? I was a smoker for 10 years and I quit with the e-cigarette. I don’t even buy nicotine in my refill liquid anymore. There is no research to support that an e-cigarette is harmful to the person using it or to other people in the vicinity. There is, however, research analyzing e-cigarette liquid that shows the level of chemicals in the liquid is not enough to be harmful to health. If anything, we should only allow the use of e-cigarettes on campus and just ban the “tobacco products” that actually contain tobacco, produce actual smoke and have already been proven to be harmful to health. That way, the ban would at least serve some purpose. Allowing e-cigarettes and not real cigarettes would likely cause a lot of students to quit smoking all together. This policy needs to be reevaluated after whoever is in charge does some actual research. Ignorant individuals should not be allowed to make decisions that effect other people. Here, I’ll even include a link http://0-onlinelibrary.wiley.com.catalog.lib.cmich.edu/store/10.1111/add.12235/asset/add12235.pdf?v=1&t=hsyy7le5&s=d03e32bcc2ebe6f633ab5c9bf503e727d5157907

    • “If nicotine is banned, why is caffein[sic] allowed?”

      If you sit down to drink a cup of coffee, does it harm the health of the people around you?
      You’re also categorizing caffeine to be as harmful as nicotine…

      Caffeine, alone, is an antioxidant. When taken before going out into the sun, it prevents UVA and UVB damage in the DNA of your skin cells. Among other things.

  4. Tippy Hedren says:

    And why the ban on snus? Very strange. Will they ban coffee next? And alcohol?

  5. Snus, snuff, chewing tobacco, and e-cigs do not affect other people, just the person who uses them.

    So why no ban of caffinee? Oh yeah! You get money from Coke and Pepsi….can’t do that. How about cutting all fatty foods, anything high cholesterol, high fructose, refined sugars, high starches and make everything gluten free in all meals or products served on campus? Vegan only!

    How many cups of coffee do the pigs who came up with this idea suck down a day? I won’t ask about the cream or sugar you put in it.

  6. I see this school has went from liberal to,fascist is 20 years. I am not a smoker but defend their right to smoke. You. May agree with this ban but what do you do when they take away more personal freedom. It is time to wise up people

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