BY CALEB MCCLURE —
The Student Health Advisory Committee (SHAC) has been on a mission to prohibit the use of tobacco on campus. SHAC was formed in 2011 to act as a health liaison between students and the university administration.
SHAC started the initiative after conducting a poll in 2012 that found 75.21 percent of students and faculty see secondhand smoke as a concern. 65.29 percent of participants said they would support a smoke-free campus, and 58.26 percent noted they would support a policy that creates a completely tobacco-free campus.
NAU student James Musbach, a sophomore studying construction management, smokes in an approved area on the pedway. NAU is considering a campus-wide smoking ban. (Photo by Mitchell Forbes)
“We’re trying to stay current, innovative, competitive, and, at the same time, trying to protect the health and well-being of not only our students, but also the environment,” said SHAC faculty advisor Melissa Griffin.
Recently, there has been a nationwide movement to create smoke-free campuses. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, there are 1,178 campuses that have become smoke-free. 793 of those campuses are completely tobacco-free. In-state peer ASU started implementing a tobacco-free policy in August 2013.
If they are successful, the group plans on banning all forms of tobacco on campus, along with cigarettes.
“We decided that smokeless tobacco still is a toxin to your body, and we just felt it was irresponsible to turn a blind eye to that,” said SHAC President Alexis Krueger.
The group has been making their argument to many influential groups on campus, including President John Haegar, ASNAU, and the University Cabinet. Nothing has been officially decided.
SHAC will continue petitioning for a tobacco-free campus. The council invites all input from students on the matter.
“If there comes an overwhelming response that this is not what NAU wants, then maybe we’ll refocus,” Krueger said.