MU's First Smoke-free Semester in the Books
COLUMBIA - This week marks the end of the first smoke-free semester at the University of Missouri and campus officials are already looking forward.
The campus went smoke free July 1, after officials elected to bump the start date up from January 1, 2014. Campus public relations representative, Christian Basi said the school has already seen big changes.
"Talking to folks across campus, anecdotally we have seen evidence of a significant drop-off in the number of people smoking, which is exactly what we were hoping to see," Basi said.
Basi said even with the improvement, there are still some choosing to smoke on campus. It's something Basi said has had a simple solution.
"Very often, many of the smoke who you might find smoking on campus are either unaware of the policy or they might be visitors," said Basi. "So just by simply informing them of the policy, most people are more than happy to go ahead and extinguish their cigarettes."
Going forward, school officials plan to work on better enforcing the policy.
"At some point, we'll be stepping back and saying is this an area that we need to make a change to, are we seeing areas where we are seeing a lot of folks congregate, maybe they don't know that that's part of University property," said Basi.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 200,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year and 150,000 die from the disease.