Next step in MU's smoke-free policy approaching

The second phase of the policy will designate specific areas for smoking in July.
Freshman Jack O'Brien smokes a cigarette Sunday outside of McDavid Hall. Effective July 1, smoking will be restricted to designated areas only, and smoking will be completely banned on campus in 2014.

Effective July 1, MU will implement phase two of its three-part smoke free policy.

This policy prohibits faculty, staff and students from smoking anywhere other than designated areas. This includes the smoking of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pipes, cigars, hookahs and water pipes.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said the locations of the designated areas are mostly around the core of campus, but there are some spread farther out.

“The university is working in conjunction with the UM System's Atkins Wellness Program to provide smoking cessation for all faculty and staff employees,” Basi said. “We’re also working with the MU Wellness Resource Center to provide smoking cessation programs for students.”

More than 500 other college campuses are completely smoke free, according to the Smoke-Free website.

“We do know from studying other areas where smoke free policies are put into place, or tobacco free policies are put into place, that smoking rates will go down,” School of Medicine professor kevin Everett said. “That falls in line in terms of goals for creating that healthy environment for people.”

School of Medicine professor Kevin Everett said survey work, which the Student Wellness Center has compiled, finds that smoking rates increase while attending college.

“We have fewest students smoking daily when they come to the university, and we have more students smoking as they leave the university,” Everett said. “I think that these policies that we’re setting up may help to reduce the number of people who smoke full time or daily as we go forward.”

The policy will rely on the cooperation of everyone on campus in order to be effective. Basi said consequences for violating the policy will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Phase one mandated smokers stay 20 feet away from an entrance to any building. Phase three, which will be put into affect Jan. 1, 2014, will make the campus completely smoke free.

“It’s just a commitment to make the Mizzou environment kind of be the healthiest place it can be for living, learning and working,” Everett said.

Basi said this is a part of the constant evolution of smoking policies. The university has taken steps to reduce smoking because of the health risks.

“We’re hoping folks will respect the beauty of the campus and the intent of the policy and their fellow person, whether they are a smoker or non smoker," Basi said. "This way we will be able to have a successful policy."

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