Student groups create petition to lift smoking ban

Students upset about the impending campus wide smoking ban, set to take effect on July 1, now have an ally with the University Libertarians of Central Michigan University.

"Smoking is a basic personal choice and freedom students should have," said Ty Hicks, president of the University Libertarians. "There's already policies established that are common courtesy. A ban is an egregious violation of personal freedoms."

The University Libertarians have partnered with the Student Advocates for Medicinal/Recreational Use of Cannabis to start a petition to have the ban lifted.

"We’re trying to gain support from other organizations and get the momentum," Hicks said. "Our movement is in its infancy."

The campus-wide policy will prohibit the use of any form of tobacco, including traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, cigars, hookahs, waterpipes, snus and snuff.

According to a press release issued in October, exceptions can be made for theatrical productions, religious rituals, ceremonies and cultural events. The use of tobacco is now only permitted on campus within privately-owned vehicles with closed windows.

Ian Elliott, president of Student Advocates for Medicinal/Recreational Use of Cannabis, said he believes the policy is an infringement on student rights.

"It's more in regard to their personal choice and liberties," Elliott said. "I think it's fair to say it's (a student's) right to choose what they put in their bodies. It's something we enjoy in America."

Elliott said the university is trying to take on a health issue through a blanket prohibition on tobacco.

"It concerns me that CMU is tackling what they deem is an issue," he said. "They should be tackling education issues. (Students) should be concerned their university is trying to tackle some health issue as opposed to spending time and resources on their education."

The petition received 150 signatures in 48 hours. The groups plan to take the petition to the Student Government Association once they feel they have a solid case.

"We're planning on getting it to them this semester," Hicks said. "If we do not act now, then we can only expect further encroachments on student rights in the coming years."

A Facebook event has been made to get signatures on the petition in the way the groups feel is most effective to get other students' attention. Elliott and Hicks agreed clicking "attending" on the page was the best way to get more signatures.


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