The University of Vermont instituted the campus-wide smoke and tobacco ban last year, now so has St. Michaels College.
“At the end of the day there’s no smoking on campus, no tobacco, no tobacco products.” says Michael New, Saint Michael’s College Vice President of Human Resources and Administrative Services.
The ban also prohibits E-cigarettes. New says after decades of research on smoking it was time for the college to take a stand.
“For fifty years in this country we’ve known that smoking is bad for your health,” says New. “We feel this is the next step.”
Many students agree.
“There would be cigarette butts thrown against the buildings, now with a complete campus wide ban I think we shouldn’t see that anymore,” says Junior Tori Barrows.
But even those who don’t smoke feel more restrictions will just encourage more people to light up.
“I feel like there should be designated areas for students to smoke, and I just feel like if you put restrictions on everything you’re taking away our freedom,” says student Isabella Calianos.
Champlain College, just next door, banned outdoor smoking on its central campus, but makes an exception on the corner of Maple and Summit Streets.
“Certainly there was some push back from it, but I think we’ve tried to address all of it.” says New. “I think at the end of the day we felt it was best to just go completely tobacco free here.”
New says about 12 percent of St. Michael’s student body smokes. He says policy enforcement will focus less on punishment and more on awareness.
“We want to focus more on information and providing resources for our students and our employees to use to quit smoking. I don’t think it’s going to be heavy handed at all.”
According to Americans for Non-smokers Rights, there are more than 1,400 smoke-free campuses.