Tuskegee University has joined more than 1,300 colleges and universities around the nation in becoming a tobacco free campus.
The Tobacco Free Policy, which became effective Sept. 2, applies to the entire university community including contractors, vendors, recruits and visitors. The campus-wide policy prohibits the use of all forms of smoking, tobacco products as well as e-cigarettes, water pipes or vapor devices. The policy covers all areas owned or controlled by the university.
“Tuskegee University is committed to providing a healthy and safe environment for all students, faculty and staff,” according to the policy.
Violators at the university could face a $25 fine. Students and employees who break the rule could be punished with an applicable action under the Student Code of Conduct or Human Resources Policies and Procedures, respectively. Visitors that do not comply with the ban could be asked to leave the campus.
Most of the university community has cooperated with the new restrictions, said Patrick Mardis, Tuskegee University Police Department chief.
“We expected more resistance than this,” Mardis said. “So far, we haven’t gotten any.”
The new policy is a strong and positive communication to the university community, according to Rueben Warren, DDS, director of the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care. He said that scientific information about the health dangers of smoking has been known for decades and that the ban is a part of being ethically responsible at Tuskegee.
“It sends a message to all who are here and to all who are coming here that we care about your wellbeing,” Dr. Warren said.
As a higher learning institution, Tuskegee must be in-line with current information about the health dangers of smoking and is morally obligated to act in the best interest of its entire community, Warren added.
“When you know better, you do better,” Warren said. “That’s a very basic principle.”