Smoke-free policy review workgroup formed to review smoking policy on campus

A smoke-free policy review workgroup has been formed by human resources to re-evaluate the smoke-free policy of Central Michigan University.

The group, composed of several subgroups of the university's population, including administrators, faculty, Resident Life officials and Student Government Association members, will meet several times during the remainder of the fall and spring semester to discuss improvements to the current smoke-free policy.

According to the university's current smoke-free policy, formed in 2008, smoking is permitted outside university buildings at a minimum distance of 25 feet from any entrance/exit, air intake duct and/or window. Smoking is not permitted in any university building with the exception of select university apartments.

Lori Hella, associate vice president of human resources, formed and organizes the workgroup and said the purpose of the workgroup is two-fold. The first purpose is to re-evaluate the current smoke-free policy and determine if more stringent rules should be put in place. The second is to determine any education programs which could be implemented to reduce smoking on campus.

"This is something that we in human resources have wanted to do for a long time," Hella said. "The smoking policy of Central Michigan University directly affects the health of its faculty and its students."

Hella said after the group forms an opinion, they will present a recommendation to the university. Hella said the group is currently too early in the process to determine what effect the recommendation will have.

Macomb junior and SGA president Justin Gawronski said the policy review is something that is needed.

"The current policy is barely enforced," Gawronski said.

Gawronski said the group is discussing constructing "very, vibrant physical" markers on the ground so the 25-foot space can be clearly defined.

Gawronski said the recommendation the university be completely smoke free is also being discussed, noting the national trend in campuses becoming smoke-free. But the purpose of the group is not to make the campus environment more difficult for smokers.

"The workshop doesn't want to punish anyone," Gawronski said. " We understand that even if we made campus 100-percent smoke free, campus wouldn't be 100 percent smoke free. People are still going to smoke ... we want to create a healthier environment on campus overall."

Gawronski also said the group is reluctant to present more strict smoking laws without putting further educational programs aimed at creating a more smoke-free environment in place, which will be free for students and faculty.

Gawronski said the workshop recognizes the importance of its recommendation.

"This is something we're going to take our time doing," Gawronski said. "We're not going to rush anything"


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