Consequences for tobacco ban breakers still uncertain
MSU’s tobacco ban will go into effect next academic year, however, the consequences of breaking the ban are still uncertain.
MSU’s tobacco-free ordinance will go into effect on August 15 2016, prohibiting the use and sale of all tobacco products.
But the idea for this policy is anything but new.
“The concept of going tobacco-free has been talked about off and on for the last 10 years,” MSU spokesperson Jason Cody said.
Cody noted police officers will not be issuing tickets to smokers, though rule-breakers will run up against the campus judicial system. This system will review each case individually.
“We’re not looking at this from an enforcement perspective, but rather from an educational one focused on creating a healthy culture on campus,” Cody said.
The ordinance, which was approved by the MSU Board of Trustees last June, includes e-cigarettes and all oral tobacco products. FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy products are still allowed.
According to the Tobacco-Free MSU website, the delay before the ban goes into effect is “to give the community time to adjust.” Perhaps the hope is that smokers who live or work on campus will quit smoking in the next year; more likely this will simply give heavier smokers time to get used to the idea.
The website states in its FAQ section that “tobacco-free environments encourage users to quit,” Leonard Fleck, a professor of philosophy, agreed.
“If (students) spend large amounts of time on campus not smoking, that would give them the confidence that they will be able to quit smoking,” Fleck said. “If you can go seven to eight hours without a cigarette, you can probably go the rest of your life without a cigarette.”
Some students have already welcomed the ban.
“Generally I’d approve,” accounting junior Jason Barnett said. “It’s a bad habit. It really doesn’t belong here.”
Despite that statement, Barnett could understand opposition from smokers.
“I think there’s people who might use that sort of thing as a stress reliever, and it makes it a lot more difficult for them to deal with the stress in their own way,” Barnett said.
Other students have expressed their disgust with the ban.
Graduate student Hamit Arvas said he was “totally against” the ordinance.
“As long as people are not smoking at the entrances and bothering other people, campus is big enough,” Arvas said. “I don’t think it harms anyone as long as it doesn’t influence other people’s health, which I think most smokers are conscious about.”
Undecided freshman Zipu Zhao felt the ban is reasonable, but that it shouldn’t cover the entirety of campus.
“I think they probably should have certain areas so people can go and smoke,” Zhao said. “It’s a free country, supposed to be a free country.”