Up in Smoke: MSU's Tobacco-Free Policy Currently Under Discussion

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By Jalen J. Smith
Entirely East Lansin

Cigarette smoking is one of the biggest ongoing debates in the world.Studies have shown the dangers of smoking and laws have limited cigarette smoking in public facilities and business across the United States. The debate is even occurring on our college campuses, including at Michigan State University.

MSU is currently planning a smoke-free policy on campus, which would ban the use of any tobacco or tobacco-free smoke products from being used on campus . An advisory board is currently coordinating with local and MSU officials to develop a policy for the campus community. Once the policy is complete, the MSU Board of Trustees is set to vote on it this summer and it could go into effect as early as next school year.

“The research speaks for itself,” said Jason Cody, head of media communications for MSU’s office of Communication and Brand Strategy. “We have a trusted board of MSU faculty members that have been diligently working to make our campus environment as healthy as possible.”

MSU has been working for years to try to move this policy forward and it finally seems to be falling into place, Cody said. “You can’t doubt the research.” According to a report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cigarette smoking results in more than 480,000 premature deaths each year in the United States alone. www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cigarettes-other-tobacco-products

MSU would not be the first in the East Lansing community to step up against cigarettes. CVS Pharmacy stores across the nation including the store at M.A.C. Avenue in downtown East Lansing stopped selling cigarettes in September 2014.
“Our revenue has increased and we are stronger than ever post cigarette ban,” CVS said. “Sometimes the hard decision is the one you have to make.”

But not everyone is excited about the MSU tobacco-free policy, “How can the school tell me what I can and cannot do? I am on a public campus and feel I should be allowed to smoke cigarettes at my disclosure as long as I don’t do it around others” said Jacob Hansel, an East Lansing resident. “I know the health risk, I don’t want someone doctoring me from doing what I want. Since MSU is a large part of the city itself this could be a problem for me.”

No matter the position on this, one thing is clear. It is happening and the MSU Board of Trustees will vote this summer.

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