U campus could become smoke-free

President Eric Kaler said he would support making the University campus smoke free.

Cody Nelson

After years of discussion and debate, the University of Minnesota may become a smoke-free campus.

The University Senate passed a resolution on Thursday to make the Twin Cities campus tobacco-free. To take effect, the resolution must be approved by President Eric Kaler — who is now in support of making the University a smoke-free campus.

“Since this issue first crossed my desk, the lack of consensus had been one of the holdups,” Kaler said in a news release. “That is no longer a concern. Frankly, it’s about time for us on the Twin Cities campus.”

Dave Golden, chairman of the University Senate’s social concerns committee, said the move to tobacco-free is to cut down secondhand smoke exposure.

“We are a campus community that cares about health,” he said.

Other Minnesota campuses are already smoke- or tobacco- free, including Minnesota State University-Mankato and the University of Minnesota-Crookston and Duluth campuses.

But some say these policies are difficult to enforce.

Katie Bobich, a Minnesota State Student Association member and student at Mankato, said the university’s smoke-free policy only slightly cuts down on smoking and isn’t strongly enforced.

“It’s pretty much a slap on the wrist,” she said.

At the University, the smoke-free resolution awaits further action. Health officials will begin working on how to implement the plan.

Kaler said he will “gladly be prepared” to go smoke-free once there is a campus-wide consensus.