With Mizzou’s current smoking policies, students are often seen lighting up in designated smoking areas such as the parking garages, speakers circle, and outside the Student Center. But by Jan. 1, 2014, the campus will be a completely smoke-free environment.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, secondhand smoke causes about 46,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year in the United States for non-smokers. With Mizzou becoming a smoke-free environment, the harms of second-hand smoke will no longer be an issue for non-smokers while on campus.
“I want to live in a cleaner environment, and there can’t be a clean environment with cigarettes around,” freshman Morgan Grigsby said.
Despite all of the positive effects of the smoke-free policy, some students do not agree.
One of these students is freshman Connor Nix, who smokes every day.
“I understand common courtesy, and I would never light a cigarette indoors with other non-smokers,” he said. “Smoking outside where there is open air and a breeze isn’t going to actually ruin someone’s day.”
According to Missourinet.com, the state of Missouri has the fourth highest percentage of smokers in the U.S., with 25 percent of the Missouri population being addicted. One in four adults in Missouri smoke, while the national average is less than one out of five.
While Mizzou does have policies that allow smoking only in the designated smoking areas, many students do not follow these policies.
“I know that there are non-smoking policies now, but they aren’t enforced as much as they should be,” Grigsby said. “There was a girl smoking behind me in the lunch line, and that just shouldn’t be okay.”
The main reason why the tobacco policies are not followed is because many people don’t know what the policy is.
“Policies are self-enforcing,” Tiffany Bowman, a tobacco coordinator said. “The new policies will be very education focused. If students are better informed about the new smoking policies, they will more likely follow them.”
MU is not the only university that is going smoke-free. The University of Oklahoma, the University of Oregon and Montana State University already have campus-wide smoke bans this year, and the University of California will be going tobacco-free in 2014 as well.