Michigan to become smoke-free by 2011

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April 24, 2009

2:05 AM

All campuses in the University of Michigan system will become smoke-free July 1, 2011. Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman and executive officers unanimously approved to adopt the policy.

Each of Michigan’s three campuses, Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint, will implement their own programs designed to curb smoking in preparation for the ban.

“People will be protected from second-hand smoke.” Michigan student Tammie Allen said to the Flint Journal. “The environment, in general, will be better.”

Allen has been influential in organizing a student oriented effort to ban smoking on campus.

In the fall, faculty and staff will have access to free behavioral sessions and over-the-counter smoking cessation products, as well as co-pay reductions for prescription tobacco cessation products. Student smokers will have access to behavioral counseling from the University Health Service and discounts for smoking cessation products.

“Hopefully the influence will rub off on me, and I will leave my cigarettes at home,” Michigan student James Shepherd said to the Flint Journal.

Michigan anthropology professor Ananth Aiyer said the smoke-free measures are “absurd.”

“People think we’d somehow end smoking and stop all health problems. Is there going to be an anti-obesity campaign?” Aiyer said to the Flint Journal, suggesting that separate rooms with good ventilation systems for smokers should be used instead.

According to Media-Newswire, the Smoke Free University Steering Committee, co-chaired by School of Public Health Dean Kenneth Warner and Michigan Chief Health Officer and Director of University Health Services Dr. Robert Winfield, will implement the policy.

“It’ll be a transparent process and will take time to consider numerous issues. But the outcome is worthwhile,” Warner said to Media-newswire.

Smokers, non-smokers and former smokers from all three campuses will participate in the committees.

“We want a healthier campus — a campus for students where it’s harder to start smoking,” Winfield said to The State News, Michigan State University’s student-run newspaper. “We want to create a climate of health and well-being, which encourages people to stop smoking.”

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