CMU will be smoke-free campus in July 2014
Central Michigan University will institute a campus-wide tobacco free policy beginning July 1, 2014.
The policy will prohibit the use of any form of tobacco on campus, including "traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, cigars, hookahs, waterpipes, snus and snuff. Exceptions may be made for theatrical productions, as well as religious rituals, ceremonies and cultural and ethnic events. Tobacco use will be permitted only in privately owned vehicles with closed windows."
A news release explained that students who violate the policy will be "respectfully" reminded of the policy, and the university states on its website that enforcement will be shared by the CMU community in what it called a "good neighbor initiative." It is unclear if further consequences will be enforced.
University officials were unavailable for comment, but University President George Ross said in the release the move was made with health in mind.
“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.”
Under the university’s current smoke-free policy, which has been in effect since 1992, smoking is permitted outside university buildings at a minimum distance of 25 feet from any entrance or exit, air intake duct or window. Smoking is not permitted in any university building with the exception of select university apartments.
According to the news release, the move to change the policy is supported by students.
In a campus-wide survey conducted last February, nearly 70 percent of the more than 4,500 students, faculty and staff who responded favored a smoke or tobacco-free campus.
The decision comes was made after a smoke-free policy review workgroup was formed last October by human resources to re-evaluate CMU's smoke-free policy.
In May 2013, the work group recommended CMU become a tobacco-free campus on July 1, 2014. University President George Ross and his cabinet members approved the policy late this past summer.
The group, composed of 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.
“This is something that we in human resources have wanted to do for a long time,” Associate Vice President of Human Resources Lori Hella told Central Michigan Life last November when the committee was formed. “The smoking policy of Central Michigan University directly affects the health of its faculty and its students.”
Initial student reactions were decidedly mixed.
"It's going to upset a lot of people," said Hunter Stevens, a St. Clair Shores freshman. "It will eliminate a lot of cigarette butts laying around, but my roommates all smoke, and they probably won't be happy."
Stevens said he feels a lot of smokers will probably still smoke on campus despite the change.
Jake Johnson, a Bay City junior who smokes daily, said he was shocked when he first heard news of the policy change.
"Every day after class, I have a cigarette," Johnson said. "It calms me down. For smokers, it's probably healthier, but I'm probably still going to smoke. I'll just walk across the street."
Linwood freshman Anissa Goretcki said the policy doesn't affect her personally, being a non-smoker, but she feels the policy is too restrictive for those who smoke.
"It shouldn't be the university's job to tell people they shouldn't smoke," Goretcki said. "It's a personal decision"