Campus goes tobacco-free starting Friday

Staff Report

No tobacco can be used on Oberlin College property starting Friday.

Smoking in college buildings and vehicles has been banned since 1993, with one broad exception — people could only light up outside, standing at least 30 feet away from building entrances and exits.

Trustees voted in December 2014 to tighten that policy as of July 1.

Now students, staff, faculty, and visitors will be prohibited from using any tobacco products — that includes not just cigarettes and cigars but also hookahs, pipes, dip, chew, and snuff — even outside.

E-cigarettes are exempt from the no-smoking rules, however. They can be used outside but not inside and not during public events such as commencement.

Another big exception to the rule that could affect Oberlin residents: Tobacco use will still be allowed on Tappan Square most times, excluding public events.

The two exceptions are expected to come up for reevaluation in 2018.

What about the right to smoke?

That’s a question posed by the college in a FAQ posted online. The college holds it is responsible for providing a safe environment for all who use campus property.

“Tobacco-free policies allow everyone on campus the right to breathe fresh air and not endure risks to their health,” it says.

A separate statement by the college calls tobacco use “a health and wellness issue, a social justice issue, and an environmental sustainability issue.”

David Covell, Lorain County health commissioner, said he is excited about the OC move and similar steps being taken on campuses nationwide.

“The more tobacco’s discouraged, the better. The use of tobacco products can cause cancer and is one of the leading causes of deaths in this country,” he said.

Tobacco use is clearly linked to both heart disease and cancer.

Staff Report