WMU campus officially goes tobacco-free

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Students headed back to school at WMU likely noticed a major change Tuesday, as smoking is no longer allowed on campus.

Newschannel 3 took a closer look at the new rules.

What the new rule means is that the campus is now tobacco free, inside and out.

Smoking has long been banned inside buildings, dorms, and campus apartments.

Now, anyone on the grounds of WMU, whether student, staff, or visitor, cannot light up outside either.

In place of a ribbon cutting, university leaders cut a giant cigarette in half Tuesday morning to launch the new initiative.

They tell Newschannel 3 they have now joined the 25 percent of colleges nationwide to go tobacco free.

The ban includes cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pipes, hookahs, and chewing tobacco.

The only place smoking will be allowed on campus is inside personal vehicles.

University leaders say they want to inspire healthy behaviors in their students, and this new policy is a step in the right direction.

"I think it signifies, in a very special way, the commitment to sustainability, our commitment to health, and our commitment, obvoiusly, to respect for others," said WMU President John Dunn.

"For the most part, students are really enthused about this, and really pleased we're moving in this direction," said Vice President of Student Affairs Diane Anderson. "We know it's going to take a while to make this culture change, but we believe strongly it's the right thing to do."

The new policy applies to all WMU property in Kalamazoo and around the state.

The university will also be offering smoking cessation programs for students or staff who would like to quit.