To promote a healthy environment on campus, Dartmouth College is set to become an entirely non-smoking environment, prohibiting smoking, vaping, and the smoking of other tobacco products on college properties.
Effective March 18, the policy applies to all Dartmouth community members and visitors and covers the use of any kind of tobacco product including cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes, and vaping products.
College President Phil Hanlon hopes community members will abide by the new rules. Those who are found using tobacco products after mid-March will face “established procedures” for policy violations. However, there are some exceptions to this policy for cultural traditions that will be reviewed on a “case-by-case” basis.
The college wants to encourage smokers to seek treatment in advance of the new policy. Therefore, the authorities are allowing until mid-March for students to quit smoking.
Students expressed disappointment and outrage over the new policy. One student tweeted it was “awesome of Dartmouth to make a statement of how tobacco is a risk factor for COVID as if my freshman dorm didn’t have asbestos and black mold in the wall.”
Student Assembly representative David Millman expressed his concern about the new policy saying, “Rules that are implemented unilaterally without student voices end up being the ones that are massively unpopular.”
A number of other students are worried about the vague nature of the “established procedures” that violators of the policy will face.
Similar Tobacco Bans
Vaping has been a consistent problem across college campuses nationwide. According to a study by the University of Michigan, marijuana vaping among college students aged 19 to 22 increased from 5 to 14 percent between 2017 and 2019.
To pull the plug on such harmful practices, hundreds of colleges and universities are gradually embracing the idea of smoke-free campuses. As early as 1994, the City University of New York (CUNY) announced a smoking ban on campus that was revised again in 2011, making the CUNY system the largest smoke-free university system in the country.
In the last decade, many others have hopped on the bandwagon. In 2013, Northeastern University implemented a smoke-and tobacco-free policy to “promote individual and community health; while recognizing employees’ right to work in a smoke-free workplace.”
More recently, the Texas A&M University System placed an immediate ban on the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices across all of its campuses in 2019.
“This health threat is serious enough that I want to see the ban include every building, outside space, parking lot, garage, and laboratory within the Texas A&M System,” Chancellor John Sharp said.