New rule bans all tobacco


The Daily Illini File Photo

Student holding a Juul e-cigarette while walking to class on the Quad. Juuls contains nicotine salt from the same tobacco leaves found in cigarettes.

All tobacco products will be regulated under the 100 percent tobacco-free campus policy starting next August, Chancellor Robert Jones announced in an email Wednesday.  

Building on the Smoke-Free Campus policy implemented in 2014, the policy will now prohibit all forms of tobacco, including snuff and chew.

Vaping devices, which recently gained popularity, were already part of the old policy, said Michele Guerra, director of Wellbeing Services.

“Typically when college students start using tobacco, it’s an occasional social practice or perhaps a stress-management technique, but this often escalates to regular or daily use by the age of 21, and about a third of the users will continue smoking into adulthood and will die prematurely from tobacco-related disease,” Guerra said.

Mikayla Mix, senior in LAS, said everybody above 18 is allowed to smoke outside of campus, which would make it difficult for the school to enforce this policy.

“I don’t think much could be done because especially with Juuls, it’s already less tobacco than a cigarette,” Mix said. “That was the whole point of making them.”

Much like the 2014 policy, the newer policy will pertain to all people on campus: students, faculty, staff and visitors, the email said.

Jeremiah Seal, senior in LAS, said he does not think the policy is a bad idea, but it would be hard to implement.

A campus task force, comprised of students, faculty and staff, has been assembled to make sure those on campus understand and follow the policy.

Unless the task force catches and fines people smoking, people will do it anyway, Seal said.  

Smoking and vaping in all campus-owned property is banned, including private vehicles parked on campus.

“I understand the attempt to improve health and reduce tobacco addiction, and also the ability to have clean air and surroundings for people around campus, especially people with allergies or whatnot,” said Samuel Jesse, graduate student in Engineering. “But also, it seems a little restrictive against what people may want to do in their own space and time.”

Jesse said the policy might not be successful because people will still find ways to smoke or vape.

“It’ll definitely stop maybe a couple of people from doing it in obvious places, but people will just avoid them,” he said.

College-aged students are in the primetime span when people start to use tobacco, as most tobacco users start before age 26, Guerra said.  

The University is not the only college to enact this policy, she said. Over 2,000 colleges have smoke-free campuses.

Campus Wellbeing Services will also be administering focus groups with various campus stakeholders to further discuss the policy.

“I think the faculty, staff and students will be very happy that we will be supporting and helping an enchanting environment on our campus,” Guerra said.

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