The University Board of Regents met on Friday, and have passed some new rules and regulations that will change the entire campus in just a few short months. Here is what you need to know!
Q. What is EMU’s tobacco-free policy?
A. The new policy provides that smoking and the use of tobacco are prohibited in or on all university owned, operated, or leased buildings, facilities and grounds, including vehicles. 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.
Q. What is the reason for the new tobacco-free policy at Eastern Michigan University?
A. EMU is committed to the health and well being of its students, employees and campus visitors. This policy is, above all, intended to support a healthy learning, living, and work environment for every student, employee and visitor. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recognizing the health, safety and comfort benefits of smoke-free and tobacco-free spaces, EMU has decided to go tobacco-free.
Q. When will the new policy take effect?
A. The new policy will take effect July 1, 2015. Until July 1, 2015, the University will be in the implementation phase, working to inform and educate the campus and surrounding community, as well as making necessary preparations for the policy to go into effect. This includes the provision of cessation options for interested students and employees.
Q. Whom does the policy affect?
A. The policy applies to all university employees, students, visitors, contractors, volunteers and service representatives while on EMU property, as defined in the policy.
Q. How is tobacco defined under the new policy?
A. Tobacco is defined as all-tobacco-derived or tobacco-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 tobacco, smokeless, chew, snuff) and nasal tobacco. The policy also covers any product that mimics tobacco products, contains tobacco flavoring or delivers nicotine other than for the purpose of cessation.
Q. Why is smokeless tobacco included in this policy?
A. A tobacco-free policy sends a consistent health message by not implying that one form of tobacco is safe. There are no safe forms or levels of tobacco use. The policy promotes and protects the health of all campus members, users and non-users alike. The risks associated with smokeless tobacco products are well documented. According to the National Institutes of Health, smokeless tobacco spit is considered a biohazard and contains at least 24 carcinogenic chemicals. A dip of smokeless tobacco typically contains three to five times more nicotine than a cigarette. From an environmental perspective, smokeless tobacco still uses the same tobacco manufacturing methods that cause deforestation, soil erosion, and poverty.
Q. Why are electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) included in the policy?
A. E-cigarettes deliver nicotine through a liquid solution. Since nicotine is derived from tobacco, the e-cigarette is considered to be a tobacco product and subject to the campus policy. The FDA defines a tobacco product as “any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption.” E-cigarettes qualify under this definition. The FDA does not consider e-cigarettes to be a safe nicotine delivery system or smoking cessation strategy, indicating that there is not enough evidence that these devices positively affect smoking. However, other forms of approved nicotine replacement therapy, such as gum and patches, are allowed.
Q. Is there anywhere I can smoke or use tobacco?
A. The tobacco-free policy extends up to and not beyond the publicly owned, perimeter sidewalks of the EMU campus, which lie on public roads, as designated by the University. Once outside the EMU campus boundaries, smoking and tobacco use are permitted, subject to local jurisdiction.
Those sidewalks form a campus perimeter that extends from Cross Street to Washtenaw Avenue to Oakwood Street to Mayhew Street to Cornell Road, then along Huron River Drive to Ann Street to St. John Street to Lowell Street to West Forest Avenue to Perrin Street and back to Cross Street, at the southeast end of campus.
Q. Why doesn’t the perimeter just extend all the way along Oakwood Street?
A. The stretch of Oakwood from Washtenaw to Mayhew Street, that is, to just south of where Hill, Hoyt and Pittman residence halls along with The Village are located, is public road. In contrast, EMU owns the stretch of Oakwood between Mayhew and Huron River Drive, and campus facilities are located on each side of that northernmost section of Oakwood.
Q. What will the tobacco-free policy mean for owners of property adjacent to campus?
A. Students and employees are expected to be good ambassadors and representatives of EMU and to respect neighboring properties. Leaving campus to use tobacco does not give anyone permission to litter, loiter or trespass on private or public property. Please respect EMU’s neighbors.
Q. Can I smoke or use tobacco in my personal vehicle when it’s parked on campus, or when I’m driving on campus?
A. Smoking/use of tobacco is not permitted in your personal vehicle, whether parked or in motion, if the vehicle is located on university-owned, operated, or leased property as defined by the policy.
Q. Does EMU have the right to tell me I can’t use tobacco products on campus property?
A. The University has a responsibility to establish policies that positively affect the health and well being of the campus community. It’s understood that the use of tobacco is a personal choice and is legal for adults to purchase and consume. The tobacco-free policy does not prohibit tobacco use; it simply establishes where use can and cannot occur.
Q. How will the University create awareness of this policy among its many students, employees and visitors?
A. The University plans to communicate provisions of the policy to all employees and students on an ongoing basis, and as part of student and employee orientation programs, and in materials distributed to all outside groups that use university facilities.
As part of this broad communications effort, the University will also:
• Prominently post signage at strategic locations throughout campus that clearly establish the boundaries of the tobacco-free campus, as well as on EMU’s website.
• Conduct educational programs aimed at tobacco use, prevention and smoking cessation, and inform the University about the dangers and health risks of using tobacco products.
Campus units, such as Admissions, Housing, Campus Life, Athletics, Student Center, and more, will want to add discussion of the policy to their agenda on tours, when scheduling events, and when they make visits off campus.
Q. Will I be able to buy cigarettes on campus?
A. The sale or distribution of tobacco products is prohibited on property owned, leased or operated by the University. The University also will not advertise tobacco products on University-owned operated or leased property, or at any University-sponsored event.
Q. Will the use of tobacco products be allowed for research purposes?
A. The use of tobacco products will be permitted for controlled research, educational or religious ceremonial purposes, with prior approval of the dean or director responsible for the facility, along with the EMU Institutional Review Board, when appropriate.
Q. How will the policy be enforced?
A. The guiding principle of enforcement will be respect for all. This crucial approach needs to include tobacco users and non-users, and must encompass respect for the policy the University has adopted. We hope this principle will help guide everyone as the University transitions to a healthier, tobacco-free environment.
From review of other campuses, best practice suggests that these changes in culture can happen with everyone working to be respectful of the policy. Repeated violation of the policy will be addressed through the Student Conduct and Community Standards Office for students and Human Resources for employees. Compliance can be achieved through consistent messaging, policy education and the provision of cessation programs.
Q. Who is responsible for implementation and enforcement of this policy?
A. The vice president for human resources or a designee is responsible for monitoring compliance, investigating complaints and recommending disciplinary actions associated with violations of the policy for EMU employees and campus visitors.
The assistant vice president for academic affairs or a designee is responsible for monitoring compliance, investigating complaints and recommending disciplinary actions associated with the policy for EMU faculty and lecturers.
The associate vice president for student affairs or a designee is responsible for monitoring compliance, investigating complaints and recommending disciplinary actions associated with the policy for students, as well as providing educational information and programs.
EMU vice presidents, deans, department heads and directors are responsible for relaying the policy to the campus community and overseeing day-to-day compliance.
Q: What should I do if I see someone smoking on campus?
A: It’s important to note that the success of this policy will ultimately depend on the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of tobacco users and non-users. All students, faculty and staff share in the responsibility for adhering to and enforcing this policy. You may respectfully approach the individual and inform him/her that as a University-wide policy, all EMU students, employees, visitors and guests are required to follow the new tobacco-free campus policy. You can also refer them to the University website for further information.
Q: What happens if you violate the policy?
A: Research indicates that during the first year of implementation of such a policy, the focus should be on providing education and supporting resources for tobacco users, and using what are known as soft enforcement methods.
These include volunteers to canvass the campus in outreach, to ensure the policy is well communicated and understood. Initial efforts will focus on education and support, rather than sanctions that are viewed as punitive.
Violations of the policy will ultimately be addressed through existing employee and student disciplinary processes.
Q. What resources are available for those who wish to quit using tobacco?
A. EMU encourages and supports students, faculty and staff who request assistance in eliminating dependence on the use of tobacco products. A list of resources will be available on the new tobacco-free campus initiative website during the winter semester.
Q: Do other Michigan universities have similar policies?
A: In Michigan, 27 colleges and universities are considered smoke- or tobacco-free. The University of Michigan (since 2011) and Washtenaw Community College (2005) are smoke-free. An additional four universities in Michigan recently adopted smoke-free or tobacco-free policies. Those are Michigan Tech, Oakland, Central Michigan and Western Michigan universities.