Campus tobacco ban just so many words?

By MICHELE McDONALD/Montana State News

Montana State University became tobacco-free in August of last year, but MSU police have not issued a single citation for violations and there is no set mechanism in place to enforce the ban, according to campus officials.

Since then, according to campus police, they have not given out a single citation for on-campus tobacco use. In fact, if a repeat or problem violation occurs, it will be handled like any other conduct issue on campus.

According to Montana State University’s health webpage, these issues will be handled either through the Dean of Student’s Office or the employee’s department.

Students assumed the new rule was being enforced by campus police and were surprised to learn this was not the case. Violators are expected to receive a friendly reminder, along with cessation information on a peer-to-peer basis, according to the webpage.

Student Tiffany Miller, who was unaware of the enforcement procedure, said simply, “Wow, I think [the rule] is kind of stupid.”

Montana State University’s policy is to promote the heath, wellness and safety of all employees, students, guests, visitors and contractors while on campus, according to the website. By implementing this policy, MSU also wants to create a healthier, cleaner campus living and learning environment.

MSU senior Rob Foxley  said, “it’s good not having people smoking outside of main entryways.” However, he added, “I think there could be some changes.”  This included, a suggestion for, on-campus smoking areas.

The use of tobacco is prohibited on all properties owned or leased by MSU, leaving a very thin line between smoke-free property and smoker’s territory. However, cigarette butts have been piling up on the outskirts of MSU’s borders contradicting, as some believe, their previously mentioned goals.

An on-campus smoker who asked not be identified said, “They need to provide ashtrays because it creates a lot of garbage (from) sloppy smokers.”

MSU’s Dean of Students, Matthew Caires, did on return calls asking for comment.

— Edited by Levi Worts

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