UVM student Haley Agront took a smoke break earlier this year.
Message to University of Vermont students: Leave the cigs at home when you come back to school this fall, because you won’t be allowed to smoke them anywhere on campus.
Vermont’s state university will go tobacco-free August 1, UVM President Thomas Sullivan announced this week in a campus memo.
The decision shouldn’t come as a surprise. As Seven Days reported, a campus committee studied it for two years and students debated it. Some urged the administration to bring on the ban; others saw it as meddling by a nanny campus government.
UVM already prohibits smoking inside buildings and right outside them. The new policy goes further: Tobacco and smoking utensils with anything in them, including pot, will be banned from campus paths, greens, parking lots and garages — in other words, all UVM property.
That’s good news to students who complained of being forced to walk through clouds of stinky smoke on campus walkways, but an unwelcome development for smokers who will be forced to puff on sidewalks and greenbelts at the edge of campus.
Sullivan predicted the ban would help discourage smoking and the many cancer deaths it causes, as well as reduce cigarette-butt litter and harmful second-hand smoke.
“By joining 1,500 other colleges and universities in this initiative, we reinforce our values in the areas of health, environmental responsibility and concern for the well-being of all of the members of the UVM community,” Sullivan said in a prepared statement.
The University will push free or low-cost quit efforts as part of the rollout and seek to educate rather than punish scofflaws through the student discipline system.
And don’t try and get away with e-cigarettes or chew. Tobacco-free is defined broadly under the policy as “prohibiting the use of all forms of tobacco, and all products derived in whole or in part from tobacco, including e-cigarettes.” It goes on to ban the use of any type of “lighted pipe, cigar, cigarette or any other smoking equipment, whether filled with tobacco or any other type of material, including marijuana.”