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East Lansing — Michigan State University students, faculty and others who want to smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products are going to have to go off campus to do so starting next month.

A campus-wide ban on all tobacco products, including cigarettes, chewable tobacco, vaporizers, E-cigarettes and hookahs, goes into effect Aug. 15. The Lansing State Journal reports it prohibits tobacco use in buildings, on lawns and sidewalks, even in personal vehicles on university property.

University officials say they’re enacting the ban as a matter of public health.

“We want to promote the healthiest environment possible and make the statement that all tobacco use is unhealthy,” said Dr. David Weismantel, MSU’s university physician.

Whether the policy will keep cigarettes unlit and vaporizers chilled on campus remains to be seen. The University of Michigan banned smoking on its campus in 2011. It’s done little to get smokers to move from campus to city-owned property, said Elden Maynard, a senior studying medieval history at the University of Michigan.

“I would say no one treats campus and university buildings any differently than anywhere in public,” he said.

Surveys have shown students and faculty are either cutting back on the number of cigarettes they smoke or quitting altogether, according to the University of Michigan’s non-smoking initiative website.

For Michigan State student smokers, punishments could range from a written warning to a suspension. Complaints against employees would go through human resources, similar to the way chronic tardiness complaints would be handled.

University police public information officer Doug Monette said officers will be talking with tobacco users initially, informing them of the new ban and helping them locate appropriate areas to smoke.

“Education is the true focus, and we need to educate the campus community because they won’t know initially,” he said.

MSU student government supports the ban

Michigan State spokesman Jason Cody said university officials are aware that on Aug. 15 when this goes into effect it won’t be like flipping a light switch.

“It’s part of a process to educate folks around campus built around trying to become a healthier place,” he said.

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