Should NMU campus go tobacco free?

MARQUETTE – Should Northern Michigan University be a tobacco-free campus?

That’s a question university officials are hoping the students, faculty and staff of NMU will answer this week after an email survey was sent out to all NMU students and employees on the topic.

“It comes up all the time,” said NMU Communications Director Cindy Paavola. “Most of the time, it’s initiated by a particular student or student group, so I would say there’s never been a year when somebody didn’t bring this issue to the administrative table.”

Currently, the university does not allow smoking inside any campus buildings and requires all smokers to be 30 feet from a building entrance before lighting up.

The proposed recommendation has the university implementing a completely tobacco-free campus Aug. 1, just in time for a new fall semester.

Smokers would still be allowed to smoke inside their personal vehicles or on NMU’s golf course in Chocolay Township. Vapor cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, would not be allowed. Neither would chewing tobacco, as the university would look to be completely tobacco-free, not just smoke-free.

Paavola said the issue of a tobacco ban on campus has been floating around since the mid 1990s, but was made a priority issue this year.

According to NMU, Michigan is home to 27 colleges and universities that are tobacco-free, including the University of Michigan and Michigan Tech University. Western Michigan University, Central Michigan University and Michigan State University are also considering going tobacco-free.

Initially sent out Monday, the single-question survey – with space for written comment – is open to Northern students, faculty and staff through Sunday.

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.