Frequently Asked Questions

CMU community members and friends may have questions about the tobacco-free policy. See the frequently asked questions below. If you have a question not listed here, contact Human Resources at 989-774-2010.

What is CMU's tobacco-free policy and when does it take effect?

Effective July 1, 2014, tobacco use is banned on all university properties, facilities, grounds, parking lots, university-owned vehicles and structures in which university functions are offered or carried out, whether owned or leased by the university, regardless of location.

To whom does the policy apply?

All university employees, students, contractors and visitors are required to adhere to the tobacco-free policy while on CMU property.

Does the policy apply to campus visitors?

Yes. Everyone present on campus must abide by the policy.

Does the policy apply to sporting events?

Yes. All athletic facilities and parking lots are considered a part of campus.

Can people use tobacco in personal vehicles?

Yes. The policy allows for tobacco use in personal vehicles on campus if the windows are rolled up.

Why is the policy being implemented?

A healthy environment is among the priorities in the CMU Strategic Plan.  The tobacco-free policy supports CMU's commitment to a culture of health and wellness and provides students, faculty, staff and visitors a healthier environment for living, learning, and working.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is sponsoring a national initiative to eliminate tobacco use on college campuses. 

Why does the policy include smokeless tobacco?

A tobacco-free policy sends a consistent health message by not implying that one form of tobacco is safe.  There are no safe forms or levels of tobacco use.  The policy promotes and protects the health of all campus members, users and non-users alike.  The risks associated with smokeless tobacco products are well documented.  According to the National Institutes of Health, smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 carcinogenic chemicals.  Smokeless tobacco is also prohibited in many Tobacco-Free policies due to environmental concerns: diseases can be easily spread through spit; smokeless tobacco spit is a biohazard and often creates unwanted hazardous waste and byproducts.  From an environmental standpoint, smokeless tobacco still uses the same tobacco manufacturing methods that cause deforestation, soil erosion, and poverty. 

Why are e-cigarettes included?

The policy prohibits e-cigarettes as there is insufficient evidence that these devices positively affect smoking and they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration as smoking cessation devices.  The FDA has the legal authority to label e-cigarettes a tobacco product and is working on developing regulations.  National health agencies remain skeptical about the safety of these devices.  Other forms of approved nicotine replacement therapy such as gum and patches are allowed.  E-cigarettes are prohibited by many colleges and universities nationally.  The following information from UC Santa Barbara summarizes concerns that lead to the inclusion of these devices in smoke-free and tobacco-free policies:  Additional resources regarding e-cigarettes are available from the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services):   

How will the policy be enforced?

Responsibility for complying with the policy rests first with the individual.  All CMU students, faculty, staff, and visitors share in the responsibility for adhering to and enforcing the policy.  The guiding principle of enforcement will be respect for all.  This approach includes both users and nonusers and must encompass respect for the rules the University has adopted.  Repeated abuse of the policy will be handled like other conduct issues on campus and referred to the appropriate campus administrative office: Office of Student Conduct for students; Faculty Personnel Services for faculty and Human Resources for staff.

What should I do if I see someone using tobacco on campus?

The policy is intended to support a healthy CMU community, not punish those who use tobacco. Assume that a person using tobacco on CMU's campus is unaware of the tobacco-free policy. If you see a person using a tobacco product on campus, respectfully inform the person of the tobacco-free policy. You may direct them to this website for more information.  Policy reminder cards have been created to print and distribute.  One approach is simply to hand the tobacco user such a card.  If you are comfortable, you can say:  "Are you aware that CMU does not allow the use of tobacco products on our campus?  I ask you to please respect our policy and put out your cigarette (or other tobacco product).  Thank you for respecting our campus environment."

Please use additional sensitivity and compassion when approaching international students, many of whom have different cultural orientations towards the personal use of tobacco. 

As a supervisor, what is my responsibility if I receive reports or observe an employee violating the policy? 

You are empowered to hold employees accountable to the University policy expectations.  First, explain the expectations outlined in the policy and provide appropriate resources.  If there are continued violations, identify the impact of the employee's actions and manage it appropriately.  You are encouraged to contact Employee Relations or Faculty Personnel Services for help with how to address matters of non-compliance. 


Why does the policy include a reference to civil fines? 

Michigan Public Act 198, the Clean Indoor Air Act, includes fines for violating the non-smoking provisions of the Act, as enforced by the state or local health department.  These are not sanctions imposed by the university.

Students living in residence halls should also be aware of sanctions for violation of Residence Hall Policies.  More information is available here.

What are the boundaries of the university for the purposes of defining University property?

The boundaries include any property owned, operated, or leased by CMU.  This includes and is not limited to all buildings and structures, sidewalks, parking lots, walkways, and university owned, operated, or leased vehicles.  This includes all properties owned, operated or leased outside of Mount Pleasant. 

What will the tobacco-free policy mean for owners of property adjacent to campus?

Students and employees are expected to be good ambassadors and representatives of CMU and to respect neighboring properties.  Leaving campus to use tobacco does not give anyone permission to litter, loiter, or trespass on private or public property.  Please respect CMU's neighbors.

Don't I have the right to smoke or use tobacco on campus?

According to state and federal law, there is no legal "right to smoke." CMU has the authority to regulate the use of tobacco on university property. Smoking in public places produces secondhand smoke, which has been scientifically proven to harm others.

Isn't tobacco use a personal right?

Tobacco is a legal product for adults.  CMU is not requiring anyone to quit using tobacco.  The University oversees all campus property and has a responsibility to establish policies that positively affect the health and safety of all campus community members.  A tobacco-free policy does not prohibit tobacco use; it merely establishes where use can occur.

What resources are available for those who wish to quit using tobacco?

CMU supports students, faculty and staff who request assistance in eliminating dependence on the use of tobacco products.  A list of resources is available here