Michigan Holds Forum on Smoke-Free Campus Initiative

The University of Michigan wants to be smoke free by 2011.

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The University of Michigan wants to be smoke free by July 2011. To explain the process for reaching that goal, university officials held a forum last night for students.

The forum discussed one concern about how such a large change in campus policy will be regulated, the Michigan Daily reports. Officials said that instead of giving out citations, the school will give those caught smoking on campus an invitation to a smoking-cessation workshop.

"Regents are in support of the policy," Ken Warner, dean of the School of Public Health, tells the Daily. "We are striving to make sure that all [implementation] subcommittees have smokers and nonsmokers on them. . . . It is not an attempt to ostracize smokers or make them feel bad about themselves."

Simone Himbeault Taylor, the associate vice president for student affairs, says the school plans to respect student rights while still enforcing the rule.

"There are choices that students need to make," Taylor said. "The objective is not to take a law-and-order approach to this. The objective is helping them make thoughtful choices about their own lives."

A study of four other universities with smoking bans in place showed a 97 percent compliance rate with the bans, Warned said. The Daily reports that 256 schools with similar bans hadn't been studied.

While the ban has the support of many, some are questioning the legitimacy of a ban on something that is legal. "I'm not a smoker myself, but it's a violation of my individual rights," one student tells the Daily. "There is a reasonable middle ground and some sort of compromise that can be reached."

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