Smoke-Free Campuses Triple

MSU latest to start prohibiting tobacco, e-cigarettes amid rising wave of bans at colleges, universities

EAST LANSING, Mich. — As Michigan State University (MSU) went tobacco-free this week, the number of colleges and universities banning tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaporizers, has tripled since 2010, according to reports.

Starting in 2012 with the emergence of the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative, the movement for smoke-free and tobacco-free campuses has grown, in the face of an increase in young-adult smokers, according to an article published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Chicago. Backers of that 2012 initiative included the American College Health Association, Hanover, Md.; the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich.; and the Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C.

Of the 4,000 campuses in the United Sates, the number that have adopted smoke-free rules has tripled from 446 to 1,493 from 2010 to 2016, the article said, attributing the statistic to the Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, Berkley, Calif. Of those, 1,137 are completely free of all tobacco products.

The Washington, D.C.-based American Lung Association has developed a list about 447 of colleges and universities it identified as “tobacco-free,” which it defined as banning “all tobacco products.” The association defined “smoke-free” as campuses that did not specifically address all tobacco products.

Efforts to adopt the MSU ordinance began in 2013, with a recommendation from the university provost. In 2015, a task force formed to get advice and explore the matter. The university’s board of trustees officially adopted the ordinance last year, setting an Aug. 15, 2016, implementation date.

The trend in colleges and universities going smoke-free comes as the number of new smokers ages 18 to 25 almost doubled from 2002 to 2014, going from 650,000 to almost 1.2 million, the JAMA report said, adding that 18% of full-time college students were smokers.

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