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Mizzou committee wants tobacco-free campus

The Tobacco Free Mizzou Committee is using a $20,000 grant from the American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation to develop policies that bans all tobacco use on campus. (Mark Slavit/KRCG 13)

Mizzou leaders formed a committee to ban all tobacco use on their campus including chewing tobacco.

The Tobacco Free Mizzou Committee used a $20,000 grant from the American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation and developed policies that banned all tobacco use on campus. The ban included chewing tobacco and other nicotine products. The chairman of the committee said enforcing a tougher tobacco policy required some self policing. The current smoke free policy counted on people to speak to offenders when they noticed someone smoking on campus, which has been smoke-free since 2013.

“We need to communicate what our policy is a little bit better with better signage," Committee Chairman Dr. Kevin Everett said. "We need to be able to have certain bodies that are in charge of dealing with violations.”

Some MU students said new policies would never completely stop all tobacco use on campus.

“Starting with a tobacco free campus would start to spread to other parts of Columbia," MU Student Kate Smith said. "That would really be good for us overall.”

“Smoking and doing chewing tobacco and things like that outweigh the benefits," MU Student Ryan Jasper said. "Deterring people from doing that, I think is a positive step.”

Mizzou’s current smoking ban included every University-owned building and surrounding property. MU officials hoped their new tobacco free policy sent a message that smoking, chewing tobacco and second hand smoke could cause serious health problems. Tobacco Free Mizzou Committee members had no timeline for making their final tobacco free policy recommendations to MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright.

“I know that people already smoke on campus," MU Student Kathryn McDonnell said. "Getting rid of tobacco in general would be beneficial to everyone.”

MU officials said about 1,600 of the nation’s 4,700 college campuses are 100 percent tobacco free.

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