The University of Missouri has announced that MU’s campus will become 100 percent smoke–free earlier than planned. The smoke-free date has been moved up from January 2014 to July next year.
In July of last year, school officials announced a plan to completely ban smoking on school grounds by January 2014, but with yesterday's (Thursday) announcement the date will be bumped up by six months. The vice chancellor for MU Student Affairs, Cathy Scroggs, says MU may not be the first school to ban smoking on campus, but now the university can be in the fore-front of schools across the nation enacting smoke-free policies: “There are about eight hundred colleges and universities in our country that are about 100 percent smoke – free on campus, so we are certainly not the first, but we are not the last because there are over 3 thousand higher education institutions in the country.”
MU alumnus Traci Kennedy says as a student, she worked to educate the campus about smoking risks. Kennedy says students’ voices prompted the change: “A lot of those decisions came from the administration. The administration said, we are going to do this for our campus, and that’s not how it started here at Mizzou. That sends a really powerful message that it took a long time and several generations of students.”
Organizations like the MU Wellness Program and Student Health Center are planning support groups to help smokers through the transition into a smoke-free environment.