University of Michigan Goes Smoke-Free in Effort to Protect Health, But Is it Fair?

SmokingThe University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor is scheduled to go completely smoke-free today. This means that students, faculty, staff and visitors will be prohibited from using tobacco products in and around buildings, parking structures and lots, campus facilities and grounds. To make sure that individual liberty isn’t jeopardized, smokers can still use tobacco products freely on sidewalks and in areas adjacent to the campus. Smoking is also allowed within the confines of privately owned vehicles, provided that the windows are rolled up.

U-M is one of the many institutions of higher education nationwide that are beginning to implement smoking bans across their campuses in an effort to improve the health of college students, faculty, staff and visitors.

This movement was relatively small to start, with only a few schools taking part. Since the practice began a few years ago, however, 246 colleges and universities have decided to go tobacco-free, according to the American Lung Association.

Why Go Smoke-Free?

The reason that so many schools are choosing to prohibit tobacco use on their campuses is because it can cause a variety of serious health problems. According to KidsHealth, these may include:

  • Increased risk of osteoporosis
  • Lung, throat, stomach or bladder cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Increased risk of illness
  • Emphysema

Smoking can greatly limit the extent to which a person is active, and is responsible for 1 out of 5 deaths in the United States.

Helpful Resources

If you are someone at the University of Michigan who is trying to quit smoking, but can’t find the strength to do it on your own, know that you are not alone. University offices will be offering assistance for those trying to quit, being fully supportive and helpful throughout the journey. Even if you live or work on a different campus where such services are unavailable, there are other resources you can use, such as Smokefree.gov and National Cancer Institute.

Do you think this is a good movement towards healthier campus living, or do you think we should be allowed to make our own decisions concerning tobacco use?

Photo credits: DucDigital and cseeman

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