WMU going tobacco-free

The campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. (file photo courtesy WMU)

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) —  On Monday, Western Michigan University became the latest campus in Michigan to go 100 percent tobacco-free.

According to the university, “the policy applies to all students, faculty and staff as well as visitors and contractors working on campus. The only exception to the campus wide mandate is that smoking is allowed in enclosed personal vehicles.”

According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, 1,372 campuses in the United States are 100 percent smoke-free. Of those 938 are 100 percent tobacco-free and only 176 prohibit the use of e-cigarettes anywhere on campus.

WMU’s policy is tobacco-free and will also prohibit the use of e-cigarettes.

“Big deal, good change. I’m very excited to be breathing fresh air all the time,” said Allison Howard, a freshman at WMU, about the new policy.

Western will become the 25th college or university in the state to go smoke-free or tobacco-free and the 8th to ban e-cigarettes in the state.

“I think it is going to be becoming more of a bigger deal. I saw some people smoking the other day and its going to be weird not seeing them doing that anymore. I think its a very good change and I’m excited for Western,” Howard said.

Aaron Tonna is a junior at the university, he too is excited about the tobacco-free campus.

“We’re a new generation. People are not, smoking is becoming less and less and tobacco use and stuff. I think majority of people around here don’t use tobacco,” said Tonna.

And there is evidence to support that. According to a Wall Street Journal report, there are fewer people smoking in fact U.S. cigarette consumption decline by 4 percent in 2013.

However while there are fewer people smoking traditional cigarettes, e-cigarette use is on the rise.

“I think people are going to maybe not respect the new policy at first. But I think people will start to realize its a positive change and that they need to stop and do it for the rest of the people on the campus,” said Howard.

The university defines tobacco products as the following: cigarettes, electronic-cigarettes, cigars, bidis, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, hookahs, chew and any other non-combustible tobacco products.

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