Eastern Michigan University tobacco-free policy takes effect today

To EMU students, faculty and staff:

Today marks an important day on the Eastern Michigan University campus.

Starting today, July 1, 2015, Eastern is going tobacco-free. Eastern's tobacco-free policy, which was approved by the Board of Regents and announced last December, will prohibit all smoking and the use of tobacco products in or on all university owned, operated or leased buildings, facilities and grounds.

The grounds of the EMU campus will be tobacco free, as will the grounds of any off-campus facilities owned or leased in total by the university. The policy extends up to the perimeter sidewalks bordering the exterior of campus.

Under the policy, tobacco is defined as all tobacco-derived or containing products, including but not limited to; cigarettes (e.g., bidis, kreteks), electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, hookah smoked products, pipes and oral tobacco (e.g., spit and spitless, smokeless, chew, snuff) and nasal tobacco. It also includes any product intended to mimic tobacco products, contain tobacco flavoring or deliver nicotine other than for the purpose of cessation.

The impetus for the policy change began in winter 2014, with a student-led initiative that sought to reduce harm from tobacco use and second-hand smoke on Eastern Michigan’s campus, while providing a campus environment that encourages and supports persons to be tobacco-free.

A committee of students, faculty and staff met regularly over the course of several months to evaluate tobacco use on campus and develop recommendations, including an implementation plan, for a tobacco-free campus. The committee found a pattern of declining tobacco use among EMU students, and received letters and other feedback from the Eastern community supporting the move toward a tobacco-free campus.

This policy is, above all, intended to encourage students, employees and visitors to improve their health by eliminating their use of tobacco products. Eastern is highly committed to supporting all students, faculty and staff who wish to stop using tobacco. I want to congratulate those who worked to put this policy together, and who are overseeing its implementation and various cessation programs this year.

Voluntary compliance will form the framework of enforcement, and will be monitored during the first year of implementation by designated University personnel. With the cooperation, thoughtfulness and consideration of both users and non-users, this policy will be successful, and in turn, everyone who comes to the campus can experience the benefits.

Further information on available campus and community resources is located on the campus tobacco-free website at www.emich.edu/tobaccofree/.

Susan Martin