The University of Maine at Presque Isle is enforcing it’s tobacco free policy. For students who are smokers, going off campus is the only way to have a cigarette.
UMPI Freshmen Taylor Sheldon says, “I understand why they’re doing it, but for the people who do have to smoke, it’s cold outside and when it rains it pours, and we have to stand on the side of the road…”
The side of the road across the campus on main street is one spot many students have been utilizing since the policy went into effect October first.
Although the tobacco free policy is being enforced, UMPI President Linda Schott tells us that the initiative is not necessarily punish or penalize students or others caught using tobacco on campus, that’s why campus security are handing out information cards for the first couple of times that somebody gets caught using tobacco on campus. The cards provide information on the policy and tobacco cessation resources.
After two warnings, a student is referred to the student conduct officer which can be followed by fines, community service, or other appropriate sanctions.
Linda Schott says, “we know it’s hard to quit smoking and we want to help the students not simply penalize them for that, so we have a policy that helps move them gradually towards not smoking.”
The UMPI health center provides students with help if they want to quit smoking. It’s part of the University of Maine System initiative to promote better health and well being on campus.
UMPI Junior Andrew Hunt tells us, “I just probably don’t have as much will power as some people I was unsuccessful but it did work for about 4 months, and I think it’s wonderful that they have a program like that to help people you know who are trying to quit tobacco.”
The tobacco cessation resources on campus are free to students and have been available since before the tobacco free policy was ever introduced. And now with a policy at hand, and a surrounding community aware of it after being notified by university officials, students will have to find their own ways to cope with the policy.
Sheldon says, “I feel like there should be something set up where the students who do smoke, they have a little spot to go under that has cover a place for like the people who do go smoke down there they don’t have the vehicles to drive off campus.”
As for now no accommodations of any sort have been proposed to assist those who need to leave campus during the cold weather to smoke.