February 4th, 2014


Consequence Free

In today's WMU electronic newsletter comes the announcement that the university will become tobacco free come 1 September 2014. Yay. Sure, you say, no skin off my back.

But this was coming. I remember staff at the Michigan Tech library finding Coke cans of spit from dippers and other disgusting clandestine activities. Last year I had a student sitting in the front row with an e-cig. "It's just water vapor." No, actually, I was sitting twelve feet away and I could smell it. So loopholes are out.

Campus Policy

The fourth goal of the University’s Strategic Plan is to ensure a diverse, inclusive, and healthy community. A specific strategy of this goal is to enhance the health and wellness of the community. Western Michigan University wants to provide and maintain an optimally healthy and safe working and living environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors. Recognizing the health, safety, and comfort benefits of smoke-free air and tobacco-free spaces WMU will be a tobacco-free campus September 1, 2014. Until this time, the current smoke-free policies remain in effect.

Effective September 1, 2014, the use of tobacco products is only permitted in enclosed personal vehicles. The use of tobacco products is not permitted indoors or outdoors on any University property. Tobacco products are defined to include the following: cigarettes, electronic-cigarettes, cigars, bidis, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, hookahs, chew and any other non-combustible tobacco products.

I've commented before the change in my life re smoking. I grew up with a father who went from cigarettes to a pipe then mostly back to cigarettes. In the 60s and 70s he smoked in the house. When my sister ran away from home for an adventure in high school, I was startled to find my mother smoking. Wendy smoked for a while in high school. I think I tried one puff -- after that it held no appeal.

In the last twenty years my body has become quite tobacco smoke intolerant. I can see smoke coming out of a cracked window on a wintry day... and smell it two cars back at the light. I can gag at the wet dead cigarettes near the entrances to buildings. I can marvel that given the attempt to tax away the desire, that anyone can afford to smoke. Still, I feel I have some understanding of the smoking circle outside at Clarion ten years ago. And the extraordinary patience that many smokers have putting up with rules that have them shivering on loading docks, victims of a social change they didn't ask for. The cruelties of quitting.

I guess I'm surprised it took this long for WMU to impose this. Oh, and they are offering support for faculty and some who smoke.

Dr. Phil