MU's New Smoke Free Policy Stirs Strong Opinions
COLUMBIA - Students and faculty on MU's campus are talking after MU announced its next step to becoming a smoke free campus.
Beginning July 1st, smoking will be restricted to 17 designated locations on campus. They include Bond Life Sciences Center, Hearnes Center, Jesse Hall, Laferre Hall, Lowry Mall, McAlester Hall, McReynolds Hall, MU Student Center, Noyes Hall, Pickard Hall, Professional Building, Reynolds Alumni Center, Schweitzer Hall, Speakers Circle, and the Student Recreation Complex. These locations were selected from common smoker destinations on campus. Smoking is also allowed in parking lots, but restricted in parking garages.
The ban applies to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pipes, cigars, hookahs, and water pipes.
Beginning in January 2014, all areas of campus will be designated smoke free.
"People can choose to smoke whether they want to or not. But, it's more of a respect., whether they can take the steps to step out of others' clean air," said MU junior Bret Dalgaard.
Some smokers also supported the measure.
"Overall it's a good idea. All the other schools in America are doing it. It's going to make everyone healthier," said MU freshman Stephen Bannes.
These are the last two steps in a process that began in 2007. The move to smoke-free began with the creation of a smoking policy task force that held forums and created surveys to determine attitudes of smoking on campus. In 2009, smoking on campus became prohibited within 20 feet of building entrances, open windows, and fresh-air intake systems.
The University says the success of the program relies on cooperation of smokers and non smokers. Students say there is no real way to enforce the policy or repercussions for those who don't abide by the new rules. A statement released by the University says, "Violators who continue to smoke after being reminded of the ban can be reported to deans, building managers, supervisors or Human Resources."
"I don't see it being enforced that much because I've got a whole bunch of friends that came from other campuses where it's completely smoke free. People say, 'you can't have that cigarette' and they say, 'alright, whatever,' and just keep walking with it in their hand," said MU freshman Theodore Knocke.
Information about the policy was spread through mass emails to students and faculty, media, and educational programs for incoming students and parents.
When the final plan goes into place, Mizzou will join more than 450 smoke free campuses that exist nationwide now.
More information on the policy can be found at smokefree.missouri.edu. The site also includes a map of designating smoking locations and resources for quitting smoking.