Editorial: No butts allowed

North Wind Staff

We live in the great outdoors. We thrive on the colors of fall, the clean lakes and the crisp, fresh air.

To preserve the fresh campus air, our university administration and student voters decided last school year to initiate a smoking ban. In accordance, NMU went tobacco-free on Friday, Aug. 1.

Now that the smoking ban is in effect, it is evident the transition was not as smooth as it could have been.

As of Wednesday, Oct. 1, smoking bans have taken effect on at least 1,478 college campuses in the United States, according to no-smoke.org.

Of these campuses, 976 are 100 percent tobacco-free and an even fewer 292 campuses prohibit e-cigarette usage.

Northern Michigan University is a member of all three demographics, prohibiting all tobacco products as well as e-cigarette usage.

In The North Wind office alone, most of the editorial employees voted to pass the ban.

However, it was a lofty goal to force smokers into quitting on campus cold turkey. A more gradual approach would have been effective.

Our university could have started by providing designated smoking areas that are not located near building entrances. NMU could have provided proper disposal areas for cigarette butts for a period of time after the ban was active. Then, the university could continue to phase out the designated smoking areas over a trial period of one year.

Without proper disposal methods for cigarette butts now, it has been noticeably more uncleanly.

Around the dorms, students are forced to walk to the off-campus sidewalks to stand and smoke.

Many of the cigarette butts have been ditched on the street. Faculty have even been seen walking across lawns to enjoy their cigarettes off-campus.

This has become such a problem that a mass email was sent out from the NMU Tobacco-Free Committee to students, faculty and staff.

Entitled “Littering, blocking sidewalks,” the email referred to angry NMU neighbors with cigarette butts littered on their lawns.

It is the responsibility of the students, faculty and staff of NMU to be accountable for themselves, but it is still the responsibility of the university to provide feasible measures toward a clean campus.