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Tobacco Free BSU

Report a Violation

Report a Violation of BSU's Tobacco-Free Policy
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Office of Student Development & Enrollment
Deputy Hall 313

Phone: 218-755-2075
Fax: 218-755-3961

Mailing Address:
1500 Birchmont Dr. NE #20
Bemidji, MN 56601-2907

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Bemidji State University going tobacco free?

Bemidji State University Student Senate strives to provide a safe, healthy environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors. The U.S. Surgeon General has published findings that tobacco use in any form active and/or passive, is a significant health hazard. In addition, environmental tobacco smoke has been classified as a Class A carcinogen, and that there is no safe level of exposure.

Reducing the amount of second-hand smoke on our campus will improve our community health. It also demonstrates our community support for individuals who are extremely sensitive to second-hand smoke for health reasons (i.e. asthma, respiratory problems). Is is anticipated that many campus community members will be pleased when second-hand smoke is moved away from common areas.

Isn't this a violation of my civil rights?

No, a tobacco free campus policy is not a violation of an individual's civil rights. There is no state or federal law that provides a "right" to smoke or use tobacco. In addition, the University has the authority to govern and regulate the use of its facilities and properties.

Am I in violation of the policy if I possess tobacco products?

No, the policy governs use of tobacco products, not possession of tobacco products.

Is tobacco use in private vehicles in campus parking lots permitted?


Who is responsible for enforcing the policy and what are the consequences of violating the policy?

Efforts will be made to ensure that faculty, staff and students are aware of the policy. Responsibility for complying with the policy rest first and foremost with the individual. Individuals who violate the policy will be referred to the appropriate campus administrative unit for disciplinary action.

What resources are available to help those who are struggling with this change and would like assistance with quitting tobacco use?

Students are encouraged to contact the Student Center for Health and Counseling. Faculty and staff are encouraged to contact their health care provider(s) for tobacco cessation options, or to visit for additional information. Additional resources may be found on the Supporting Documents page of this Tobacco Free BSU site.

Does this policy apply to city owned streets, sidewalks and right-of-ways?

Bemidji State University does not have jurisdiction over the use of city owned streets, sidewalks and right-of-ways in regard to tobacco use or related activities. Please note, however, that many streets and sidewalks adjacent to the campus are university property. To avoid confusion, those wishing to use tobacco should do so on a site that is clearly not university property. It is also really important to respectful of the owners of that non-university property.

Ceremonial tobacco use is important to my culture. Will there be exceptions made for these purposes?

Yes, the policy is consistent with Minnesota State Law that permits ceremonial tobacco use in traditional Native American spiritual or cultural ceremonies held on campus. Those events need to be approved through appropriate campus processes.

Does this policy apply in University residence halls?

Actually, the Bemidji State University residence halls have been smoke free since Beltrami County passed the Smoke Free Ordinance for Indoor Public Places and Places of Work in 2007.  The revised tobacco free policy will apply to residents of University residence halls.

What percentage of BSU students use tobacco?

According to the results of the 2010 College Student Health Survey, 24.2% of students reported that they use tobacco. The daily use rate is 9.5%. More information about the results from the survey are available by clicking here

Why does the tobacco policy apply to the entire campus, instead of just the academic side?

Though students living on campus may find it more difficult and inconvenient to adhere to the tobacco policy, allowing tobacco use outside of the residence halls on university property would not align with BSU's goal of creating a healthy, clean and safe environment for the campus community.

Why can't there be designated smoking areas instead of making the whole campus tobacco free?

In fact, the current smoking policy bans smoking within fifteen feet of buildings, and the policy has not been successful.  Furthermore, offering designated smoking areas does not support BSU's goal of creating a healthy, clean and safe environment for everyone.

Why is smokeless tobacco included in the ban sincere there are no second hand effects?

Establishing a comprehensive policy that includes all forms of tobacco is more equitable, easier to enforce, and has better health outcomes. The policy consistently addresses health issues, because there is no safe form of tobacco. The makers of smokeless tobacco would have people believe that their products are "safer" than cigarettes and can even be used as an aid in quitting smoking. The fact is that chewing tobacco and snuff contain over 28 cancer-causing agents.

In addition, smokeless tobacco use often creates unwanted and sometimes hazardous waste and byproducts that can be spilled both outdoors and indoors. These spills create more cleanup work for campus maintenance staff and harm the environment.

Why are E-cigarettes included in the Tobacco-Free Campus policy? 

There is no evidence that e-cigarette vapor is safe to inhale. Initial studies indicate that there are toxins and pollutants in the emissions of e-cigarette and they may pose safety risks to others. E-cigarette also imposes an enforcement issue because it is difficult to distinguish them from real cigarettes.