No more smoking at Metro State

In hopes of projecting an image of a healthier campus, Metro State University banned on-campus smoking starting May 1.

The policy prohibits using any smoking and tobacco products on any part of Metro State’s property, indoors and out. The ban includes cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and pipes.

The decision comes based on the results of a 2011 survey that indicates the majority of students would prefer not to allow smoking on the school’s St. Paul campus.

The survey showed that 26 percent of Metro State students use tobacco, with 12 percent using on a daily basis.

Nicholas Theiss, spokesman for the school’s St. Paul campus, said that for the first year of the ban, the enforcement will be passive. This will mean there will be no immediate punishment for someone caught smoking.

Rather, signage put up around the campus will state that smoking isn’t allowed. Staff and students will also be able to get “nonfrontational communication cards,” Theiss said, and hand them to people seen smoking on campus. The cards inform smokers that they’re not allowed to smoke on-campus.

In May of 2015, the school will re-evaluate the passive enforcement method, and possibly add more punitive measures.

Theiss explained that this message matches up with the school’s “family-oriented campus,” and matches with what the majority of faculty and staff have said.

“A lot of students wouldn’t be bothered if Metro State went smoke free,” he said.

The move to ban smoking comes two years after Metro State implemented designated smoking areas around the grounds.

But those designated areas were not effective -- students at night classes can often smoke near the entrances to buildings, Theiss said.

Despite the ban, Thiess said the university isn’t necessarily expecting to influence smokers’ habits overall.

“We’re not telling anyone whether or not they can smoke, we just don’t want it to happen on our campus,” he said.

The university is partnering with the Association for Nonsmokers - Minnesota to communicate the new policy to students and staff, and also to offer resources for smokers who want to quit.

The policy prohibits using any smoking and tobacco products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and pipes.

Exceptions to the ban will be made for tobacco use in traditional Native American ceremonies, scientific studies and theatrical productions.

Contact Patrick Larkin at 651-748-7816 or at Follow him on Twitter at @ESRPatrickLark.


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