In July 2013, former NMU president David Haynes appointed a committee to revisit an ongoing discussion on whether Northern Michigan University should become a tobacco-free campus. The debate, beginning in the late 1990s, was last a featured topic in 2009 when former university president, Les Wong, proposed a smoke-free campus ban. A university forum, several focus groups and a campus-wide survey were conducted. The results of the survey were split 50-50. Former president Wong’s proposal included banning people from smoking in personal vehicles parked on campus. This clause sparked a significant amount of contention for many who supported going smoke-free, but felt the university shouldn’t be able to tell people what they can or can’t do in private vehicles.
As part of the current tobacco-free committee’s collection of data, a campus-wide survey was made available to all NMU students, faculty and staff during November 2013. Out of 3,208 participants, 60 percent were in favor of the tobacco-free proposal. After conducting interviews, research and receiving the results of the survey the committee recommended NMU join the over 1,200 smoke-free and 800 tobacco free campuses across the nation.