MU trying for tobacco-free campus after struggles with smoking ban

1 year 2 months 3 weeks ago Thursday, October 19 2017 Oct 19, 2017 Thursday, October 19, 2017 10:29:00 PM CDT October 19, 2017 in News
By: Cameron La Fontaine, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri banned smoking on campus in 2013, but after issues with compliance over the past four years, the school is trying to ban all tobacco products while finding ways to better enforce the policy. 

MU received a $20,000 grant from the American Cancer Society and CVS Health Foundation in September, part of $1.2 million given to 126 colleges and universities around the country to fund tobacco-free policy implementation on the campuses. 

Kevin Everett, an associate professor at MU and tobacco researcher, applied for the award. 

"I thought it would be a good chance to improve on the process we have for our smoke free campus and have it be more inclusive for all tobacco products so that we might be able to reduce the harm that tobacco causes to young people," Everett said.

According to a survey by the CVS Health Foundation, 73 percent of Americans and 78 percent of college students indicated their support for policies that prohibit smoking and other tobacco use on college campuses.

"Tobacco use is the leading cause of death and disability in this country and a lot of people’s tobacco use habits while they’re in college or in high school," Everett said. "We know that having policies that prohibit tobacco use will reduce prevalence of use as well as encourage people to quit that are using tobacco."

Everett is serving as chair of the committee and said that over the next two semesters, the group will talk about ways to improve cessation, ways to improve communication about the policy, including where new signs should be put, as well as working on compliance with the policy. 

Ryan Alsop, chairman of Student Affairs at MU, is one of the student representatives serving on the committee. He said that despite the smoking ban, people continue to light up all over campus, especially in areas near Strickland and Middlebush halls as well as outside of Ellis Library. 

"The littering of cigarette butts makes us look terrible, especially with the tour guides walking around," Alsop said. "They even promote that we’re a smoke free campus, but it’s hard to do that when they turn the corner and look at the fountain and there’s smokers lining the wall."

Alsop said it's not only a littering issue, but also a health issue for students around campus when others are smoking.

"If we’re on university grounds and you’re smoking, you don’t know the student that’s going to walk by, you don’t know their health issues," he said. "There are a good majority of students who have asthma or at least something and they are affected by smoking."

Regarding the current smoking ban, Alsop said it hasn't worked because there is no authority behind it.

"The current policy focuses on students asking other students to stop smoking and it hasn’t been working," he said.

"Because our community has a high turnover rate (new students every year; new faculty and staff hires, etc.), educating individuals about the policy is a constant effort. We have tips for our community on how they can help us enforce the policy," MU Spokesman Christian Basi said in an email. 

Basi pointed to the "compliance tips" section of the "Smoke Free Mizzou" website

This is what it currently says about addressing a violation: 

"Compliance is everyone’s business. If you see someone violating the smoking policy, please approach the person in a kind, compassionate way. You might say, "Hi, I'm Truman. MU recently became a smoke-free campus and if you must smoke, though I wish you wouldn't, you'll have to do it off university property."

If the person continues to smoke after being reminded about the policy, you're encouraged report him or her to the dean or building manager in charge of the nearest building. You may report an employee to his or her supervisor or to Human Resources."

Everett said the first step will be to get more "non-smoking" signage around campus, especially in the problem areas.

After reviewing possible steps, the committee will make written recommendations to the university for approval. Everett hopes that by Fall 2018, MU will be a 100 percent tobacco-free campus and have improved enforcement of the policy as well as better education for students on the dangers of smoking.

"If they’re in an environment that doesn’t support tobacco use, they’re less likely to become daily users and addicted," Everett said. "Trying to educate young people on just how challenging it is to overcome an addiction to nicotine and tobacco use is a real important part of the process."

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Latest on Missouri Gov. Mike Parson's budget and State of the State address Wednesday... More >>
31 minutes ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:55:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is proposing a $351 million bond to repair or replace 250... More >>
57 minutes ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:29:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
Watch KOMU 8 newscasts and download the KOMU WX app for live coverage and alerts. COLUMBIA - Another winter... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:23:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in Weather
COLUMBIA – An expert warns that two snow events, one after the other, may affect your roof. Although city... More >>
3 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 6:38:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The man killed after allegedly shooting at St. Louis detectives was facing charges for shooting a... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 5:15:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A former student alleges in a lawsuit that Drury University didn't protect her after she was sexually... More >>
5 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 5:06:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The friend of a man killed on Sarazen Drive over the weekend says investigators told him John Albers... More >>
6 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:46:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A University of Missouri-Kansas City professor has resigned after being accused of coercing foreign graduate students... More >>
7 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 2:46:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
SPRINGFIELD — A Missouri health provider will have to pay tens of millions of dollars to a former patient... More >>
9 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 1:13:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Applications are now available for a giveaway designed to provide computers for low-income families. The city relinquishes... More >>
10 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 12:26:00 PM CST January 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Attorney general Eric Schmitt announced a settlement with Fiat Chrysler and auto parts supplier Bosch over unlawful... More >>
11 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 11:05:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri will open residence halls a day earlier than planned amid predictions of another winter... More >>
12 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 10:04:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Missouri Governor Mike Parson will give his first State of the State address in the Missouri House... More >>
15 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 7:25:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — Staring down the next deadline to pay federal workers, the White House shifted tactics, trying to bypass... More >>
17 hours ago Wednesday, January 16 2019 Jan 16, 2019 Wednesday, January 16, 2019 4:57:00 AM CST January 16, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Mayoral incumbent Brian Treece and opponent, Chris Kelly, faced off in the second mayoral candidate forum Tuesday. ... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 9:27:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
OVERLAND (AP) — The Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis is investigating a fatal shooting outside a McDonald's restaurant... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 4:37:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A new bill before the Senate would ban texting and driving for drivers of all ages. It's... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 4:24:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Kansas City police say people at one address fired 360 shots from at least nine guns... More >>
1 day ago Tuesday, January 15 2019 Jan 15, 2019 Tuesday, January 15, 2019 3:46:00 PM CST January 15, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 34°
11pm 32°
12am 32°
1am 33°
2am 33°