The Student News Site of Northern Michigan University

The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

Meet the Staff
Megan Voorhees
Megan Voorhees
Assistant News Editor

Hi! I’m Megan Voorhees and I’m the Assistant News Editor at The Northwind! I was first introduced to journalism my sophomore year of high school and I’ve been in love with the profession and writing...

The North Wind Editorial Sessions
About us

The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Editorial: Tobacco-free policy meddlesome

There are currently 792 campuses in the United States that are 100 percent tobacco free. For most university campuses, this means no cigarettes, no chewing tobacco, no e-cigarettes and, ultimately, no exceptions. An additional 385 campuses nationwide are 100 percent smokefree, which prohibits just cigars and cigarettes, but not chewing tobacco or e-Cigarettes.

Comic Credit: Dorsey Sprouls
Comic Credit: Dorsey Sprouls

NMU is considering the possibility of becoming a 100 percent tobacco-free campus by Fall 2014, with the only exceptions to the rule being tobacco use on public sidewalks and roads, in personal vehicles (with windows fully closed) and at the NMU Golf Course near Harvey.

Administrators will be releasing a survey for students to take in regards to the issue on Monday, Nov. 4.

While there are obvious benefits to eliminating tobacco on college campuses  — less exposure to secondhand smoke for bystanders being the big one — prohibiting the use of a legal substance at a public university is still a questionable move.

Story continues below advertisement

The right to use tobacco — no matter how unhealthy it may be — should be respected by administrators and other students on campus. Not only that, but before making a decision on the matter, administrators need to look into the feasibility of actually enforcing the policy.

While the health benefits of such a policy may be plentiful, but actual enforcement of a 100 percent tobacco-free campus will promote unnecessary surveillance of NMU students who are engaging in an activity that is completely legal elsewhere.

While there are countless benefits to a tobacco-free policy on a college campus, the North Wind Staff — with only one staff member who smokes — sees the implementation of such a policy more a matter of university administrators overstepping their boundaries than anything else.

As an example, in early 2012, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was very close — in fact, only one day away — from implementing a limit on sugary drinks at establishments like restaurants and theaters in New York City. A judge in the state supreme court, however, ruled the measures “arbitrary and capricious” before they were to take effect the following day.

Bloomberg’s attempt to limit his constituent’s consumption of sugary drinks mirrors the attempts of NMU administrators to implement a tobacco-free campus.

While such policies are certainly noble in their effort to improve the health of students (and the well-being of bystanders), creating a 100 percent tobacco-free campus is an intrusion into the decisions of students who have the right to use tobacco if they choose to do so.

More to Discover