It may soon be time for Michigan State University smokers to put out their cigarettes, at least while on school property. For some
Michigan State students this is cause for celebration.
Senior Marie Steinbock says her commute to class is sometimes hampered by smokers who gather outside building doors. “I would just really love to be able to walk around campus and not have anyone smoking or anyone chewing tobacco or anything like that,” she says.
MSU is forming a task force to help transition the University to a tobacco free campus. While it is still in the very early stages of development the according to Jason Cody, a task for member and Communications manager for Michigan State the force will work to guide the campus towards being tobacco free.
Cody says, “The task force is not here to decide whether or not we go tobacco free, the task forces purpose and mission is to decide what is the best way to implement a tobacco free policy.”
Current Michigan State University rules prohibit smoking within 25 feet of a buildings entrance or exit and Michigan laws prohibit smoking inside of public buildings. The sale of tobacco products on campus is also not allowed. Still, University officials are looking to do more in order to assure a healthier campus.
Officials like Dr. Holzman from the University Physicians Office, the group that heads the task force.
Holzman says that tobacco is the number one cause of preventable death and second hand smoke is the third leading cause, but there are other reasons by tobacco free policies help.
“There is data to show that smoke free policies in the workplace do make a difference, it can decrease the amount the people smoke, and it increases quit rates,” says Holzman.
While the official language for the policy is still being drafted, the goal is to ban all tobacco related products, not just cigarettes, and there has even been talk of banning e- cigarettes. The policy would affect students, faculty, employees, and anyone visiting the University and not everyone seems to be on board.
“I just pretty much stand by that people have the right to do whatever they want as long as they’re not harming others,” says MSU Senior Michael Thelen.
If Michigan State University were to go tobacco free it would join 1,400 college campuses across America, and many here in Michigan that are tobacco free. The tobacco free policy will not be in effect for at least another year. The task force hopes to present a draft of the policy to the board by summer and further educate everyone on campus as to what this policy means.