By Madison Van Cott
The Tobacco-and Smoke-Free Campus Policy, which went into effect on January 22 after nearly a year of transition, prohibits smoking and the use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes on campus.
The university has removed all designated smoking areas on campus as part of the new tobacco-and-smoke free policy that went into effect earlier this month, but enforcement of the ban will be through voluntary reports.
“The intent of the tobacco-free policy is not to punish students,” said the University Office of Government and Community Relations’s Director of Media Jordan Carleo-Evangelist. “It is to help them make healthier choices by providing a healthier and cleaner environment for everyone who lives/works/goes to school here. That’s why Student Health Services is offering resources to help students stop using tobacco.”
Carleo-Evangelist said that because the goal of the policy is to encourage students to quit smoking and provide a healthier campus environment, university police will not be involved in enforcing the policy.
The university will also not issue fines to individuals caught smoking or using any tobacco products on campus.
If a person is seen not following the policy on campus, any university faculty/staff member or student may inform them of the policy or file a complaint, and then all referrals are assessed by Community Standards for merit.
Community Standards reviews the situation and will then decide if the referral will be formally processed, said Carleo-Evangelist.
The policy was initially approved on November 19, 2018. A transition period became effective in February 2019, which allowed the use of tobacco products and vaping by students, faculty and third parties only in designated areas on the Uptown and Downtown campuses.
“I don’t necessarily plan to stop vaping on campus because it’s not a law being enforced by campus police,” said Jackson Channel, a university student who uses an e-cigarette. “But now knowing about the policy, I will be more courteous to people around me when doing it.”
According to a self-reported survey by the Health Services, about 80% of students on campus say they do not use any sort of tobacco product at all.
The Tobacco-and Smoke-free Campus policy is available on the university’s website, as well as the services offered by Student Health Services for those who want help with tobacco addiction.