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Tobacco-free policy introduced to campus

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Tobacco free campus policy effectiveness called into question.

Tobacco free campus policy effectiveness called into question.

Photo by Olivia Qualls

Photo by Olivia Qualls

Tobacco free campus policy effectiveness called into question.

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The tobacco-free campus policy went into effect Aug. 1 after five years of work from Marquette University Student Government. The policy bans use of all tobacco products on university-owned grounds but does not extend to state-owned property such as Wisconsin Avenue and adjoining sidewalks. 

As part of implementation, the university will be sponsoring courses and opportunities for people who smoke to stop the habit, according to Xavier Cole, vice president of student affairs.

“We say that we want to be the healthiest campus, we say that it’s important to us to build and recognize wellness and integrate these programs: mind, body and spirit,” Cole said at a press conference. “As an institution, we have to show these are harmful behaviors.”

Students can expect to see community members being considerate, and less tobacco usage as a result of the policy, Cole said.

The newly-formed Tobacco-Free Task Force, composed of students, faculty and staff, plans to communicate with campus and clarify the rules, as well as provide support, advice and educational efforts to quit tobacco. However, there will be no repercussions or fines as a result of using tobacco on campus, said MUSG President Ben Dombrowski. 

An exception is made for those who use tobacco for religious practices, according to a university statement.

The tobacco-free policy also states on-campus vendors will be prohibited from selling tobacco products, but Dombrowski said it is ultimately up to off-campus vendors like Walgreens and 7/11 to support the university or not.

The university also received a grant from the American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation to promote its new policy as part of the ACS Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative with the goal to deliver the first tobacco-free generation.

The three main objectives the grant will address are to engage, educate and empower students and faculty to work on implementing new tools to help with tobacco prevention. Such tools include social media, live events and providing support services for those looking to quit.

“Because tobacco products have well-known health risks associated with their use and secondhand exposure that put all members of the Marquette community at risk, the university has developed a tobacco-free policy,” stated the University-wide news brief sent via email Monday, July 17.

Originally, the policy was set to go into effect Aug. 2016, but was delayed, as MUSG’s recommendation had to go through groups such as the University Staff Senate and human resources. The topic of whether or not there would be associated fines and punishments was also an ongoing conversation during the last year. The policy was prioritized the summer leading up to Aug. 1 this year.

MUPD will be following the same policy set forward by MUSG: they won’t be actively ticketing smokers, but will make them aware of the policy.

 

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