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The University of Michigan will be a smoke-free campus starting July 2011


In our ongoing effort to create an environment that is healthy for all members of our community, the University of Michigan will become a smoke-free university. This will help ensure a healthier environment for faculty, staff, students and visitors.

  • All campuses of the University will be smoke-free by July 2011. This extends the smoke-free environment of our University buildings to the campus grounds.

  • A steering committee, co-chaired by Kenneth Warner, dean of the School of Public Health, and Dr. Robert Winfield, chief health officer and director of the University Health Service, is developing an implementation plan. Subcommittees have been formed and are meeting. View Committee Members.

  • The Dearborn and Flint campuses have representatives participating in all subcommittees, but will be responsible for their own implementation plans.

  • Committee recommendations will be made to President Coleman by Fall 2010 to guide the implementation of a smoke-free campus.

Why we made the decision—and what you should know about how we’re proceeding:

  • The decision to become a smoke-free University aligns perfectly with the goals of MHealthy to improve the health of the U-M community.

  • We’ll make the change gradually, with input from the campus community on how best to put our new policy into practice.

  • Subcommittees are carefully considering the implications for student life, human resources, grounds and facilities, human resources and visitors to the University.

  • Committee work will be thorough and includes representatives from all campuses, students, the local community, and smoking cessation experts. Within these work groups are smokers, former smokers and never-smokers.

  • Students are involved as committee members and reflect varied opinions. More than 1,500 students have provided feedback and participated in focus groups and surveys about the initiative, with many supporting the plan to make all U-M campuses smoke-free by July 2011.

  • We want to be sensitive to smokers, former smokers and never-smokers in the implementation of this policy, as well as the surrounding community. Community members are involved in the work of the committees.

  • This is another step along a path set in the 1987 when the university adopted a ban on smoking in buildings (except some residence halls). Our Health System has been smoke-free since 1998, and the Residence Halls Association, a student-representative organization, eliminated smoking from all residence halls in 2003.

  • More than 260 campuses in the U.S. are now smoke free, including our Big Ten counterparts, University of Iowa and Indiana University. Even campuses in states with substantial tobacco production, such as the University of Kentucky, have enacted similar policies.

Read an informational letter from President Mary Sue Coleman about the Smoke-Free Initiative

Health Information

Smoking has long been known to be a primary cause of lung cancer, and the list of other diseases caused by smoking includes certain aortic aneurysms, myeloid leukemia, cataracts, cervical cancer, kidney and pancreatic cancer, pneumonia, periodontitis and stomach cancer.

The Surgeon General’s 2004 and 2006 reports, The Health Consequences of Smoking and The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, warned that no level of smoke is safe. Other conclusions included benefits of smoking cessation to both the smoker and his/her family due to second-hand smoke:

  • Pooled evidence indicates a 20-30 percent increase in the risk of lung cancer from secondhand smoke exposure associated with living with a smoker.

  • Evidence is sufficient to infer a causal relationship between exposure to secondhand smoke and increased risks of coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality among both men and women.

  • Workplace restrictions are highly effective in reducing secondhand smoke exposure.

  • Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long-term benefits, reducing risks for diseases caused by smoking and improving health in general.

Working Toward a Smoke-Free Environment

The University of Michigan first adopted a University-wide smoking policy (SPG 601.4) in 1987, which banned smoking in buildings (except designated residence halls) and University vehicles. In 1998, the U-M Health System prohibited smoking on the grounds and in public spaces. In 2003, the Residence Hall Association eliminated smoking from all residence halls. The policy has been revised periodically and now includes all U-M campuses.

Smoking cessation assistance is available from the Tobacco Consultation Service, established by the U-M Health System.

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