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

8 months 3 weeks 6 days 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
COLUMBIA - An arrest for suspicion of filing a false report has been made in connection to a reported robbery... More >>
4 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 11:44:28 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - After four days of searching, Jerry Kinman has been found dead near Little Dixie Lake. Kinman,... More >>
5 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 10:19:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
STURGEON - The carnival rides at the Boone County Fair closed unexpectedly just hours after the fair opened because they... More >>
7 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 9:00:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A democratic candidate for Missouri's fourth congressional district criticized the Republican incumbent Tuesday for her lack of action... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 6:46:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce harshly criticized the city council at Monday night's meeting regarding projects being put... More >>
9 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 6:41:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Hy-Vee recalled its Spring Pasta Salad from 244 stores on Tuesday. Company officials said 20 illnesses by... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 5:54:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
MEXICO - Josh Hawley faced questions about President Donald Trump's summit with Russia as well as tariffs facing Missouri farmers... More >>
10 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 5:31:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
BOONE COUNTY – Expecting mothers in Boone County will soon have more services at their disposal. The county received... More >>
13 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 2:16:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Grain Belt Express Clean Line, a proposed energy transmission project through northern Missouri, got new life... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 1:59:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
ASHLAND - A child identification program wants to help parents be as prepared as possible in the event that a... More >>
14 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 1:41:00 PM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Nineteen agencies received more than $115,000 in grant money Tuesday from the United Way of Central Missouri.... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 11:56:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Some people may notice their trash laying out on the curb for longer than usual on Tuesday. ... More >>
16 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 11:12:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLE COUNTY - A car chase which started in Cole County on Tuesday ended in Columbia with two arrests. ... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 10:22:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The group fighting a ballot measure that would make Missouri a right-to-work state has outraised its... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 10:17:30 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Authorities say two planes carrying more than 250 passengers made emergency landings at Kansas City International... More >>
17 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 10:11:34 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Police records related to the shooting death of Rovon Blocker suggest the incident appeared to be accidental. ... More >>
18 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 9:39:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Three Fulton men are in custody after being charged with stealing and drug offenses, in connection to... More >>
19 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 9:01:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
FULTON - A judge sentenced a man convicted of a dozen sex crimes, some involving children, to sixty years in... More >>
20 hours ago Tuesday, July 17 2018 Jul 17, 2018 Tuesday, July 17, 2018 8:05:00 AM CDT July 17, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 71°
4am 72°
5am 71°
6am 70°
7am 71°