Tuskegee University, the historically black college founded by Booker T. Washington, is the latest institution to ban tobacco use on campus. In doing so, the Alabama school joins the rank of more than 1,300 other colleges and universities across the country that have also implemented a tobacco free policy on their campus.
Tuskegee’s policy prohibits the use of all tobacco products as well as e-cigarettes, water pipes or vapor devices on all areas of the sprawling campus.
According to Patrick Mardis, Tuskegee University police chief, those who violate the policy will be subjected to a $25 fine. Mardis said that most students and staff have been in compliance with the new policy since it took effect earlier in the semester.
“We expected more resistance than this,” he said. “So far, we haven’t gotten any.”
At one time not too long ago, smoking was quite common on college campuses. But in recent years, a growing movement has emerged to outlaw smoking on college campuses. Today, nearly 1,372 campuses across the nation are smoke free, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.
Health experts say that college presidents, rallied by students and faculty, have been successful in leading the charge to rid their campuses of tobacco products. Tuskegee, like many other institutions, has used the ban to educate the public about the health risks associated with smoking.
Dr. Rueben Warren, director of the Tuskegee University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, said that the university’s implementation of the smoking ban is a move in the right direction.
“It sends a message to all who are here and to all who are coming here that we care about your well-being,” said Warren.
Many other HBCUs, including Kentucky State University, Alabama State University and Harris-Stowe State College in St. Louis, have banned smoking on campus. In 2011, Miles College adopted a policy prohibiting the advertising of any tobacco products on campus or the sponsorship of university events by tobacco companies.
Jamal Watson can be reached at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter @jamalericwatson.