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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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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

Nicotine products ‘grandfathered’


As of Dec. 20 2019, a bill signed into law by President Trump has raised the legal age for nicotine usage to 21. Many students are confused about the legality of nicotine products they may already have purchased while the legal age was 18.

The new federal law states that any person under the age of 21 cannot be in possession of any nicotine products, even if they purchased said products when it was legal. If a person under the age of 21 is in possession of any nicotine product, Detective John Kovlar with the NMU Police Department recommends that they throw it away. 

“They would be subject to the disciplinary action that was previously reserved for the 17 and under crowd when the legal age was 18. You would be charged as a minor in possession of tobacco. If you are an of age person (21), and you were caught providing tobacco to an underage person, that would be a misdemeanor,” Kovlar said.

There have been whispers on campus of the possible existence of a ‘Grandfather Clause’ for the nicotine law, meaning that if an 18 to 20 year old bought a nicotine product before the time that the law went into effect on Dec. 20th, this product would be legal. 

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“It would be fairly tough to enforce a grandfather clause, just because it’s not tracked, per se,” Kovlar clarified. “There’s no history, there’s no chain of custody. Who’s to say when you actually got it? To the extent of my knowledge, a grandfather clause does not exist.”

Additional regulations to nicotine use are in play on campus, regardless of the age of the user.

The NMU Board of Trustees approved a movement to make NMU a smoke-free campus on Aug. 1, 2014. This rule prohibits products defined by the American College Health Association as “including cigarettes, vapor cigarettes (e-cigarettes), cigars, cigarillos, hookah-smoked products and oral tobacco (spit, spitless, smokeless, chew, snuff).”

Smoking and/or the use of tobacco products are not permitted in the individual living areas, hallways, or common areas of residence halls and apartments on the NMU campus. Those underage who are found smoking are subject to disciplinary measures through the student code of conduct. 

For those of legal age the only places students are allowed to use nicotine products are on a public sidewalk or in a personal vehicle with windows rolled up and secured, as well as on the NMU golf course.

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