EMU goes tobacco-free

Eastern Michigan University adopted a tobacco-free campus policy July 1, banning all tobacco products across campus.

A committee of students, faculty and staff developed the tobacco-free policy after months of meetings.

Student Body President Steven Cole, who served on the committee, said Eastern is now joining a coalition of colleges and universities who have adopted tobacco-free policies.

“The goal of the policy was to give students the tools they need to cut back on or eliminate their use of tobacco,” he said.

According to the university policy statement, the policy will help to create a “healthy learning, living and work environment” for everyone on EMU’s campus.

Ellen Gold, EMU assistant vice president for student well being, said in a statement that the responsibility of adhering to and complying with the policy is shared by everyone on EMU’s campus.

“With the cooperation, thoughtfulness and consideration of both users and non-users, this policy will be successful, and in turn, everyone who comes to the campus can experience the benefits,” she said.

Sophomore Ariona Kalaj, business major, said she supports the policy because it’s an effective way to reduce first-hand and second-hand smoke related health risks.

“It's really not fair for others to involuntarily become susceptible to cancer, heart disease or other health risks due to second-hand smoke,” she said. “The enactment of this policy has and will continue to put me in control of my own health.”

Caitlin Keif, a sophomore majoring in biology, said she too was previously concerned about second-hand smoke.

“I am extremely happy about the new non-smoking policy,” she said. “I think that it will promote a healthier lifestyle for students, as well as a cleaner learning environment.”

EMU personnel will monitor the policy during the first year. Existing employee and student disciplinary processes will be used to address violations. Students will meet with Student Conduct and Community standards Office and employees will meet with Human Resources.

Disciplinary consequences will not be the focus of the first year of the policy. According to the tobacco-free initiative website, the university will focus more on “providing education and supporting resources for tobacco users, and using what are known as soft enforcement methods.”

An implementation plan will also take effect, which will include supporting students and employees who want to quit. For information on the resources available, go to emich.edu/tobaccofree/resources/index.php

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