MOUNT PLEASANT (WWJ/AP) – Central Michigan University plans to become tobacco-free starting July 1 as part of an effort to improve the health and well-being of students and employees.

The Mount Pleasant school says the policy, “A Breath of Fresh Air,” will eliminate the use of tobacco products indoors or outdoors on campus.

“The health and well-being of all students and employees is a top priority,” School President George Ross said in a statement. “We want to provide everyone with a chance to attend school, live and work in a safe and healthy environment.”

Central Michigan University’s current smoke-free policy has been in effect since 1992, prohibiting smoking in all buildings and university vehicles, as well as within 25 feet from any entrance, exit, air intake duct or window of a university building.

The new policy will prohibit the use of any form of tobacco on campus, including traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco, pipes, cigars, hookahs, waterpipes, snus and snuff. Exceptions may be made for theatrical productions, as well as religious rituals, ceremonies and cultural and ethnic events. Tobacco use will be permitted only in privately owned vehicles with closed windows.

Students pushed for the policy change, according to Lori Hella, associate vice president of human resources. She said a campus-wide survey of more than 4,500 students, faculty and staff showed that nearly 70 percent favored an expansion of the current smoke-free policy.

“The tobacco-free policy was created with input from a work group that included representatives from each employee group on campus, as well as representation from the Student Government Association and Residence Hall Assembly,” Hella said in a statement. “It’s going to make CMU’s campus a cleaner, healthier place.”

About 800 schools nationwide have tobacco-free policies in place on campus.

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