ST. GEORGE, Utah -- Starting in January, Dixie State University will be a tobacco free campus. The Board of Trustees approved the new policy on Friday, and it’s meeting mixed reaction by students.
Under the new policy, the sale, distribution, use and advertisement of tobacco products is prohibited. The ban includes electronic signatures and vaporizers.
The goal behind the new policy is a cleaner, healthier environment centered around cessation. Dixie State joins more than 1,000 universities across the country taking an administrative stand against tobacco.
DSU is the first public institution to do so in Utah.
“I think it’s great, honestly, because there’s been problems in the past,” said junior Chance Steglich.
Many students reacted positively to the Trustees’ move, saying the see the benefits of a tobacco ban.
“I think it is going to be conducive to a cleaner, healthier lifestyle,” said sophomore Paul Burges. “People will be able to keep their mind on their goals more by having that atmosphere.”
The journey to a tobacco-free campus is one that started three years ago. It was student driven campaign, and the fact that students proposed the change, made it an easier decision for the Board of Trustees to make.
“Our students felt that it would be important to the students, faculty, administration and visitors on campus, to have a cleaner healthier environment,” said Board of Trustees chairman Steven Caplin. “And we support that as a Board of Trustees.
Tobacco users say they recognize the reasoning behind the policy, but say they still take issue with taking away the student’s choice.
“For the majority of everyone here, we’re pretty much adults. I think we should be able to make our own decisions,” said junior Miles Persinger. “At least have a designated area where it’s allowed.”
The Trustees considered exceptions, but say in the end, felt it needed to be 100 percent or not at all. Former student Joe Pate is one of the original students to start the campaign. He says it’s not about taking away student rights, but rather about education and health of all students.
“The onset of addiction is going to happen in the very ages of traditional students on campus,” Pate said. “So if we want to influence people one way or the other, it’s going to be here.”
The policy takes effect Jan. 1.