New campuswide smoking policy goes into effect

Friday, January 23, 2009 | 2:10 p.m. CST; updated 9:28 p.m. CST, Saturday, January 24, 2009

COLUMBIA — A new smoking policy went into effect Tuesday on the MU campus, but smokers seem to be taking a casual attitude toward the new restrictions.

The regulation requires smokers to move 20 feet away from any building entrance, exit, window or fresh air intake system on university-owned or leased property. It is the first revision to the campus smoking policy since 1998.


Related Media

“I don’t think it will really go into effect. I see people smoking outside all the time,” said MU student Andrea Johnson, 20. “I guarantee a lot of people don’t know about it, and I don’t see how they can enforce it. It’s going to be interesting."

Authorities are planning to regulate the policy by voluntary cooperation, according to Christian Basi, a university spokesman. Specific consequences have also not been mapped out.

Smokers like Johnson and Ashanya Indralingam say they find the new policy to be inconvenient and unenforceable.

“I don’t really smoke on campus, so I will probably follow it,” said Indralingam, 22. “I don’t think others will. People just smoke wherever they want to. It’s hard to stop people from doing what they’ve been doing for a long time.”

Nonsmoking students like Nicole Seifert say they would like to see the new policy enforced to minimize the amount of cigarette smoke in the air around campus.

“What is the purpose of going through all that work to make it a rule if there are no consequences?” said Seifert, 19. “It seems like everyone is getting parking fines, but there are no consequences for secondhand smoke. It’s like stealing someone’s parking spot is worse than cancer.”    

Nonsmoker Christina Robinson favors the new policy but does not believe it goes far enough.

“I would prefer a smoke-free campus, but I completely agree with (the new policy),” said Robinson, 19.

The revised policy followed recommendations by a campus task force composed of faculty and students, smokers and nonsmokers. The group held two forums and e-mailed a survey to the MU community.

Fifty-seven percent of the respondents preferred a smoke-free campus, but the task force did not believe this was a large enough majority to recommend a complete ban. They chose a compromise that ramps up restrictions as MU strives to be smoke-free by 2014. 

Students will decide whether smoking is allowed on residential hall balconies where they live. MU officials do not have jurisdiction over Greektown, and the policy does not apply to the sorority and fraternity houses.

MU Health Care remains smoke-free.

“Hopefully by the time I get into nursing school I will have quit smoking. I’ve cut down a lot and I want to quit because it’s horribly bad for you,” Johnson said. She said she has been a smoker for four years.

MU will be working with the T.E. Atkins University of Missouri Wellness Program and the MU Wellness Resource Center to provide smoking cessation programs for students.

“We are giving folks the tools to make this program successful,” Basi said.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Charles Dudley Jr January 23, 2009 | 4:06 p.m.

Smokers all over Columbia totally ignore the City Ordinance of the same nature that is in effect now.

They will walk right up to door ways with lit smokes in hand and at the last second toss their nasty smelling butts all over the ground.

It is a fact just watch smokers when you go out into public places and you will be sickened by what you observe.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 23, 2009 | 4:33 p.m.

Hey, if some smoker fills the air I breathe with their foul smelling burning butt, can I spray water into the air, with my trusty water pistol, and have it rain on their parade?

(Report Comment)
Carol Thompson January 24, 2009 | 7:47 a.m.

More than 50 studies show that human papillomaviruses cause over ten times more lung cancers than they pretend are caused by secondhand smoke. Passive smokers are more likely to have been exposed to this virus, so the anti-smokers' studies, because they are all based on nothing but lifestyle questionnaires, have been cynically DESIGNED to falsely blame passive smoking for all those extra lung cancers that are really caused by HPV.

The anti-smokers have committed the same type of fraud with every disease they blame on smoking and passive smoking, as well as ignoring other types of evidence that proves they are lying, such as the fact that the death rates from asthma have more than doubled since their movement began.

And it's a lie that passive smoking causes heart disease. AMI deaths in Pueblo actually ROSE the year after the smoking ban.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr January 24, 2009 | 9:49 a.m.

I wonder if this ban were to pass even on a nation wide scale how much co2 emissions from cigarette smoke would be eliminated from our atmosphere?

How many ceilings,walls,air filtration systems in all buildings would not be contaminated by that ugly orange film that sticks to everything and collects all forms of dust and other harmful elements in the air only to allow them to fester and mutate.

Have any of you ever seen the inside of a computer that is used by a heavy smoker? Eeaaayyyuuuuuuukkkk!!! Nasty!!

That just cannot be healthy to anybody.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 25, 2009 | 1:51 p.m.

Smoking obviously takes its toll on health and our environment.
Charles Dudley, thanks for some links and comments that make sense and are backed up with objective anti-smoking facts.
All I ever needed to know was that burning anything with noxious smoke caused my eyes to redden, iritated my throat and just smelled offensive.
Puffers also have bad skin, yellow teeth, discolored nails and hack.
No one, I know, ever woke up one morning and said, "I think I'll do something healthy today and take up smoking!"
And to all those "considerate smokers" who had to ask me if I mind if they smoke in front of me, my answer has always been a lie. I was just being nice, at my own expense. I really do mind if you smoke.
Don't smoke in my presence. I find it inconsiderate, obnoxious and annoying.
And do me a favor, don't tell me I can leave the area being smoked up by your bad habit. I'm not the polluter. You are the "stinker."

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 25, 2009 | 2:55 p.m.

Can anyone show me studies that actually show secondhand smoke is a real health hazard while walking about outdoors? I have no problem with Mizzou or anywhere else keeping smoking from entrances, but to say they want to go to a totally smoke-free campus sounds like social engineering and/or wanting to look "good" to me.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr January 25, 2009 | 3:07 p.m.

Ya a smoke free campus would be nice as that would mean one less place in our tiny corner of humanity people are not tossing,flicking,throwing their dirty butts all over society in everybody's faces.

Often times being in line at a grocery store behind some citizen with a dirty butt is bad enough.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 25, 2009 | 3:24 p.m.

If you are smoking and we walk past each other, as I breathe in your smoke, the discomfort and headache I experience is unhealthy enough for me.
(If I were to see you drinking a bottle of a known poison, I might also be inclined to try to stop you from drinking it.)
If I had the desire to prevent litter, billows of smoke and ash and unpleasant smells from my surroundings, I would not call that "social engineering."
And it may have to do more with education and discouraging bad habits than just "looking good."
As far as I'm concerned, your freedom to smoke ends at the tip of my nose. And I'm all that matters!
(I learned that last line from a smoking Libertarian.)

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr January 25, 2009 | 3:38 p.m.

>>> As far as I'm concerned, your freedom to smoke ends at the tip of my nose. And I'm all that matters!
(I learned that last line from a smoking Libertarian.) <<<

OMG Say it isn't so ray shapiro not a Libertarian.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 25, 2009 | 3:39 p.m.

Nice points Ray, but I'm not a smoker. I just don't see outdoor secondhand smoke as much of a health risk. My mother-in-law can't stand perfume very well, should we ban that as well due to the reaction it causes her?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro January 25, 2009 | 4:02 p.m.

Services for Independent Living and other groups highly discourage excessively smelly stuff, such as perfume.
Most people will find "too much perfume" offensive.
If your mom-in-law got a lobbyist group, such as the American Cancer Society, Lung Association or formed Mother-in-Laws against pretty smelling alcohol-based fragarences, she might have a shot.
P.S.- I know you are not a smoker. You just don't like government intervention and believe that the campus and the city should have as little involvement in the lives of others. (I have also heard that Libertarians feel that private store owners should not be regulated to prohibit "tiny fires at the end of tobbacco tubes" from their establishments.)
I tend to accept the need for certain regulations and laws. Especially the ones which protect me from smoke.
I'm sorry that your mother-in-law has to endure her sensitivity to odors.
How does she feel about the opportunity for a smoke-free environment and her sinuses?

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.