The nearly three-year-long push for a tobacco-free campus culminated in a unanimous vote in favor of the ban at the recent Dixie State University board of trustees meeting.
A policy was presented to the trustees on Nov. 22 that, among other things, stated, “The use, sale, distribution, or advertising of any regulated or unregulated item containing tobacco, tobacco products, or tobacco flavoring is prohibited on DSU campus.”
The policy went on to include the ban of tobacco, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, vaporizing devices designed to function like electronic cigarettes, cigars, oral or smokeless tobacco, nasal tobacco and products intended to mimic tobacco.
The only exception to using any of the above listed items, according to the original policy, would be “… if individuals lawfully smoke inside private vehicles located on the DSU campus provided smoke is contained by closed windows and waste materials are disposed of properly.”
The debate between trustees wasn’t about the tobacco-free policy; all agreed that DSU should become the first public higher education institution in Utah to ban tobacco from its campus. The debate came over the caveat that students and faculty could still smoke inside their private vehicles as long as the windows were sealed.
Trustee Elisabeth Bingham said the exemption for smokers should be removed from the policy.
“The only issue we have with looking through [the policy is it] says you can smoke within your private vehicle,” she said. “It’s pretty hard to enforce that. But we would like to pass this policy the way it was intended with it just being a completely smoke-free campus.”
Trustee Christina Durham agreed and said DSU needs to be 100 percent tobacco-free, or the policy shouldn’t be passed at all.
DSU President Stephen Nadauld was the first voice of dissention as far as amending the policy.
Nadauld said he helped draft the policy in its state at that time so minorities would know they had representation on campus, and he asked the trustees to keep the caveat in place so smokers would have an option.
“For my part, I want to acknowledge the input of some of our faculty members to what they in their mind think would be recognizing minorities and giving a little bit of an opportunity for them to maybe be more welcome on our campus while they hopefully would get into a cessation program,” Nadauld said. “I think the policy you have before you has merit … I just want you to know that what you have in front of you is responsive to the minority.”
The trustees voted to amend the policy to exclude areas where people could smoke or use tobacco on campus.
The amended draft, which was approved, states that all tobacco products are prohibited “…except drug products containing or delivering nicotine or substances designed to mimic nicotine that have been approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for use in treating tobacco dependency (i.e. F.D.A. approved tobacco or smoking cessation products), including but not limited to chewing gum, skin patches, oral lozenges, nasal spray, and oral inhalers.”
The policy will be effective Jan. 1, 2014, and will apply to everyone on campus.