This January, Miami University added several articles to its no-smoking policy, which has been in place since 2008. The additions to the policy include a ban on the use of e-cigarettes and chewing tobacco on Miami University grounds, additions some students believe are an encroachment on their rights.
The new additions to the tobacco-free policy, which became effective January 1, are applicable in all Miami University-owned facilities and on the grounds of any University-owned property including inside personal vehicles parked on university property.
“I think it says a lot about Miami University to put the health of students and staff first,” said Director of Student Wellness Rebecca Baudry. “The University wants to make sure this is an environment that not only protects those who are not engaging in those habits, but also sets an example for the kinds of behaviors that protect health.”
While the university has placed signs advertising a “smoke and tobacco-free environment” on campus, many students are still viewed puffing their cigarettes as they walk to and from class without any fear of consequences.
“The police department isn’t going to be arresting people for smoking on campus,” Miami University Chief of Police John McCandless said. “I don’t think the intent of the university is for the MUPD to be taking levels of enforcement against those who are smoking.”
Though MUPD officers will issue only warnings, the Ohio Revised Code chapter 3794.02 says these must be taken seriously.
“No person shall refuse to immediately discontinue smoking in a public place, place of employment, or establishment, facility or outdoor area declared nonsmoking when requested to do so by the proprietor or any employee of an employer of the public place, place of employment or establishment, facility or outdoor area,” the code reads.
Resident advisors can also issue citations, which will go through the Miami University Office of Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution. On-campus staff supervisors can also issue citations which effect employee conduct record.
“I’d say that it [the smoking policy] is unfair,” said fifth-year senior and smoker Cecilia Stelzer. “It seems like the university is more concerned with proving that they’re protective of their students or progressive more so than treating their students like adults, which they are. You should be able to exercise your freedoms as long is they don’t infringe upon anothers.”
Although the adverse effects of second-hand smoke are widely known and espoused by students and faculty alike, many students took a different side concerning the ban on chewing tobacco.
“I’m definitely going to keep doing it [chewing tobacco] unless I feel like I should stop for my own personal reasons,” said freshman chewer Brian Donahue. “I’m not harming anyone else, there is no second hand smoke from chewing tobacco and quite honestly, I enjoy it.”