MSU Mankato now tobacco-free

Minnesota State University, Mankato, implements the ban of tobacco use on campus.

As of January 1, 2012 MSU has adopted the tobacco ban throughout the whole campus including university owned vehicles. The only exception is the students who live in the dormitories can smoke outside the dorms until May 15, 2012.

This has been an on-going controversy since the policy has been implemented. There are people who still use tobacco on campus, but there has been a lot more respect from the tobacco users by not smoking directly in front of building entrances.

With the way the policy is written there is no fine assessed to people who are caught smoking. The thing that can be done is to kindly approach a smoker and remind them that this is a non-smoking campus.

MSU is not the 1st campus in Minnesota to adopt the MnSCU tobacco policy. In 2010 South Central College in North Mankato were one of the first to adopt the policy. One of the reasons for the policy to take place is because of the careless smokers who ignored the previous policy, which was smoking 15 feet away by 1 of the 28 designated smoking areas. Like the saying goes, 1 bad egg spoils it for everyone else.

After some research, finding out that there are no fines assessed to smokers are caught smoking on campus. It is hard to believe that the university will become completely tobacco-free.

Lori Marti, health educator at MSU, used a couple great analogies, “Why don’t we bring our pets on campus?” Well because there is a policy that states there are no pets allowed. “Why don’t students or faculty rollerblade to class because it’s quicker?” Again, because there is a policy that states no rollerblades in the buildings.

So in essence for the people who use tobacco not bringing it with them to campus  won’t tempt them to use them on campus.

MSU security does not have anything to do do with the policy because they would spend more time trying to catch the people who do smoke and less time patrolling something more serious that could be happening on campus

Some of the downfalls of having a tobacco-free campus and having it be strictly on the honor system seems to cause more of a mess because there are no smoking poles or a place for smokers to dispose of their butts.

Peter Hausladen, community advisor in McElroy complex stated, students who live in the dorms should have a place to smoke because it is their home, and spend a lot of time there

That brings us to where the campus is at now and students who don’t live in the dorms could call that discrimination. What’s to stop off-campus students or faculty to walk over to the dorms to have a smoke break?

Tom Harrington, MSU student, believes that if he wants to go out and have a cigarette he should be able to, but if someone has a problem with it to just respect their views and dispose of the cigarette.

Kelsey Hildebrandt, MSU student said, That at first she was following the smoking policy until she noticed that over students weren’t following the policy, so every now and again she has one on campus.

In the 1970’s it was much easier to smoke on campus:

  • Professors could smoke in their office
  • Smoking lounge behind the bowling alley
  • Smoking was permitted between Armstrong an Morris Hall

That was taken care of because of the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (MCIAA)

Smoking indoors is and was a feasible thing to ban because more 2nd hand smoke is being consumed, but outdoors doesn’t seem to be feasible because being outdoors away from a doorway takes away from the 2nd hand smoke inhalation.

“If the honor policy is thrown out because of people not abiding by it, fines could eventually come in to play but that is last resort,” said Marti.

It’s a last resort thing to do because it could give the campus a bad image and could sway students from attending MSU, which could cause some animosity towards the people who enforce the fines.

However, there are some benefits of having a tobacco-free campus, which includes smokeless tobacco:

  • Less waste
  • Less confusion of what is and is not allowed
  • Smoke-free policy only includes cigarettes and cigars

MSU News‘ take on the the tobacco-free policy.