University of Akron and Kent State University going tobacco free

Posted at 6:00 AM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 06:00:22-04

While some things will always be a staple of college life, one major thing is about to change. Across the nation, about 1,827 schools have banned the use of tobacco on their campuses. In Ohio alone, most universities have begun going tobacco free and beginning July 1st the University of Akron and Kent State University will join that growing list.

The purpose is to make campuses safer and healthier for all students, and eliminating the use of tobacco and nicotine is one of the ways to make that happen.

While many schools across the country have adopted the no-tobacco rule, enforcing punishment for offenders is up to the individual school's discretion.

At the University of Akron, it’s all about self-governing. If a student catches another student smoking, they can report him or her to the universities code of conduct team, where they will be punished on a case-by-case basis.

“There are things that faculty or students can do but really right now it's all voluntary and self-governing and the university has a whole lot of smoke sensation programs both for students and employees to help them out”, said Lisa Craig with the University of Akron.

The University had been in talks about making the school tobacco free since 2015. They even polled faculty and staff about their thoughts during the decision making process. Craig said the majority of the student body wanted to go tobacco free, so it was really a no-brainer for the university to give the people what they wanted.

Since December, students have been contacted via e-mail and social media about the impending change. So while it won’t be a shock to students when they return in August for fall semester, it definitely will be something to consciously keep in mind if you smoke or see someone else smoking.

So will this work? Right now, the university is saying they’ll just have to see what happens over time in order to know if they need to make any changes.  The self-governing policy does leave some room for students to be laissez-faire on the new change, but time will tell if going tobacco free removes tobacco on campus.