Alma College students were notified through Student Congress last semester about changes in the tobacco policies on campus. There have been questions about what falls under this policy and how it will take effect.
According to The American Cancer Society, of the roughly 20 million college and university students in the United States, more than 1 million are projected to die prematurely from cigarette smoking. The American Cancer Society, under the direction of its Center for Tobacco Control, launched the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI), to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100% smoke- and tobacco-free policies on college and university campuses across the nation.
The standing tobacco policy on campus bans the use of cigarettes, vaporizers, and e-cigarettes inside of all college owned buildings— including dorms and small housing. This policy was last updated in January of 2018.
The draft of the new policy prohibits tobacco use across Alma College campus, including small housing and the surrounding areas. “The new policy is applicable to all campus buildings and housing, both inside and out and includes all facilities and grounds owned by Alma College. including but not limited to athletic fields, college owned vehicles, parking lots and surrounding college-owned properties,” said Anna Lambrecht, Associate Vice President for Student Life.
This policy makes Alma College a smoke-free, vapefree, and chew-free campus. There are no exceptions being made for tobacco-free vaporizers and similar devices that use essential oils.
“Alma College received a grant from the American Cancer Society and CVS Health Foundation to help us become a 100-percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus,” said Lambrecht. “This grant is a part of the nationwide TobaccoFree Generation Campus Initiative designed to reduce the number of people who get sick and die from tobacco-related diseases.”
After Alma College received this grant, they put together the Alma College Tobacco Free Task Force and met monthly. “Members of the task force began research to explore best policies & practices from other campuses in the nation that had already accomplished the goal of becoming Tobacco Free,” said Lambrecht.
Some students have been vocal on social media concerning these changes in policy, but many students do not have very strong opinions. “It doesn’t really affect me. I understand their reasoning behind changing the policy, but it might cause more issues than the money is worth,” said Kara Tredway (’20).
If students are caught in violation of this policy, they will receive disciplinary action from the Director of Student Affairs. This is different than disciplinary action towards faculty and community members.
Alma College conducted a survey—completed by 939 students—that said 44.4% of students are concerned about second hand smoke on campus and 51.2% of students have tried tobacco one or more time.
There is nothing in these changes to smoking policies that reference marijuana usage on campus. Thought it is legalized in the state, it is still banned on Alma College’s campus.