NMU Considers Tobacco-Free Campus
Northern may become a tobacco-free campus. President David Haynes appointed a work group in the summer to study the issue. The group has been meeting regularly to consider implications of such a change. In early November, a campus-wide survey will ask students, faculty and staff if they support the idea.
NMU already has a smoke-free policy for the interiors of all of its facilities and residence halls, and a 30-foot rule at facility entrances.
The committee’s preliminary proposal suggests that NMU implement a tobacco-free policy for all university-owned property. The only exceptions would include personal vehicles parked on campus with closed windows and the NMU Golf Course. All residence halls and university apartments would be included in the tobacco ban. The policy would also prohibit vapor cigarettes, which are sometimes called e-cigarettes.
"While we don't have every detail of the plan worked out, the survey will provide a measure of how much support there is for going tobacco-free, as well as ways to gather information on specific concerns," said Cindy Paavola (Communications), committee chair.
Paavola said the proposed start date is Aug. 1. She added that if NMU moves forward with going tobacco-free, a wide variety of cessation products and programs would be available on campus to help students and employees who choose to quit smoking. “We would look to hold workshops at NMU that would be free of charge.”
Since the university last considered the issue in 2008, hundreds more colleges and universities have implemented smoke- or tobacco-free policies (the latter includes chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes). As of mid-July, nearly 1,180 colleges and universities nationwide, including 27 in Michigan, had gone 100 percent smoke- or tobacco-free. There are 793 that have a 100 percent tobacco-free policy. This fall, Michigan Technological University and Finlandia University joined Bay College as tobacco-free campuses in the Upper Peninsula. Western Michigan University is tentatively set to go tobacco-free next fall, while Central Michigan and Michigan State University have committees evaluating the option.