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Tobacco Free BSU

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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

Rationale for a Tobacco Free Campus

In his charge to the Student Senate Co-Presidents and the VP for Student Development and Enrollment, Dr. Hanson asked for the Work Group to consider these ideas and suggestions: 1) "We should consider the purpose for the policy, including the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, rising health care and insurance costs, and any other reasons relevant to our campus," and 2) "We should consider providing a conceptual and practical tie between our smoking policy and the corporate values of our campus."

After review of relevant research and other supporting documents, a sub-committee of the Tobacco Free Campus Work Group has developed a rationale related to the President's charge. The documents, studies and reports that informed the rationale are included in the Supporting Documents page.

Purpose for the Policy

  • According to the 2010 Bemidji State University Student Smoking Survey, 77% of the respondents agree that they are exposed to second hand smoke at BSU and 93% consider second hand smoke a health hazard. These results are consistent with previous studies conducted on campus.
  • Given the large body of evidence and information about the dangers of tobacco use and exposure to second hand smoke, weekly tobacco use rates for 18-24 year old students has dropped from 31% in 1998 to 19% in 2008. In 2010, daily tobacco use rates for BSU students is less than 10%.
  • A recent report from the U.S. Surgeon General stated that there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Even smoking the occasional cigarette or breathing secondhand smoke could lead to smoking-related diseases, trigger an asthma attack, or cause a stroke or heart attack.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention and the U.S. Surgeon General state that public policy is a crucial component of a comprehensive strategy for reducing tobacco use.
  • Moving to a tobacco-free campus reflects current trends in the U.S. and in Minnesota. The Minnesota Clean Indoor Act , which includes the Freedom to Breathe amendments, has already removed smoking from Minnesota workplaces. BSU prepares students to enter a smoke-free workplace.
  • The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees passed a resolution in March, 2010, encouraging all member institutions to consider more restrictions on tobacco use.
  • Advantages to a tobacco-free campus include: reduced danger of fires from lit cigarettes, reduced maintenance and clean up expenses and fewer complaints of odors and smoke.
  • The tobacco industry often targets college towns and college "hang outs" to give away free tobacco products. This is an attempt to promote their products and "hook" new smokers. Attendance at a tobacco industry sponsored event at a bar or campus party is associated with higher smoking prevalence among college students. Promotional events may encourage the initiation or progression of tobacco use among college students who are not smoking regularly when they enter college. Therefore, a tobacco-free campus policy should include a prohibition on tobacco promotions.
  • A tobacco-free campus policy has the potential to effect change! Occasional smokers may not become regular smokers, and experimental smokers may not become occasional smokers. Regular smokers may consider quitting entirely.

Relationship to Campus Values

  • The rationale for a tobacco-free campus is about respect for self, others and the environment. The rationale does not include reducing the number of smokers.
  • The health of students, faculty and staff at Bemidji State University is an essential component of the success of the institution.
  • A tobacco-free campus policy supports the institution's signature themes (environmental stewardship and civic engagement) as well as its strategic directions (i.e., students' personal well-being).