How many universities are truly 100% tobacco free? This big one will be soon

The University of Michigan is taking a bold leap to make its campus healthier by banning vaping.

Calling it a “natural progression of our efforts to improve the overall well-being” of its campus, the University of Michigan will be installing a ban on e-cigarettes and other similar vaping devices and products by the middle of November.

Although U-M first adopted smoking bans in 1987 and further measures over the next two decades, it has been slower than some institutions in pushing ahead on a full tobacco ban, as other campuses enacting regulations against vaping, including Michigan State University. Michigan Medicine also banned it in 2016. As recently as three years ago, more than a quarter of U.S. teens were using electronic nicotine delivery services (ENDS). Now, one in every 20 U.S. citizens does.

“When we instituted our smoke-free policy in 2011, this new generation of products was not commonly used,” said Rob Ernst, the University of Michigan’s chief health officer and associate vice president of student life for health and wellness. “But during the last decade, the sale of ENDS has more than doubled.”

And concern from public health experts has exploded. This report from Johns Hopkins University highlights the sea of chemicals that are, or may be, contained in vaping products. They have led to nearly 3,000 lung-related injuries in each of the past few years. They also can be difficult to regulate. E-cigs and other products such as hookah pens contain a portion of nicotine, and more than half of users admit they are not just smoking them but regular cigarettes, too. Colleges intent on keeping communities healthy—and lowering outcomes such as cardiovascular and lung disease—cannot fully achieve their goals by only having regular tobacco bans in place. The risks are too great.

“While adolescents who use e-cigarettes may not feel that vaping is affecting them at the moment, it is increasingly clear that the chemicals contained within e-cigarette aerosols are harming cardiovascular cells, leading to changes that promote the development of heart disease over time,” Loren Wold of The Ohio State University’s School of Medicine said in an interview with the Wexner Medical Center. “It usually takes decades before people who smoke combustible cigarettes develop cardiovascular disease and/or chronic-obstructive pulmonary disease, and the same may be true of vaping.”

They’re on board

More than 2,170 colleges and universities in the United States are tobacco-free, and several hundred more have indicated they are 100% smoke free, according to data kept by the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation published this summer. A growing number have added electronic nicotine delivery services, or vapes, which also include hookah pens. The warnings have been heeded by more than 2,250 institutions who have signed on and banned them.

At Michigan, the new ban not only includes vaping devices but smokeless tobacco products, aka “chew, dip, snuff or snus.” Students and the others across its three campuses only will permitted to smoke or have those products in their own vehicles or on public sidewalks that abut main streets off campus. One of the unique parts of Michigan’s plan is that it is offering workers across its campuses free counseling support on quitting, as well as six months of nicotine-replacement therapy medication for those who are on university health plans. Students can also leverage the same support at no cost.

Michigan has messaged students with these words of encouragement: “If you want to stop using tobacco or decrease your use, we encourage you to join the Great American Smokeout (coinciding with U-M’s date on the ban on Nov. 17) and follow the American Cancer Society’s guidance, which is, ‘Start with day one.’ ”

More from UB: What colleges need to know about vaping

The American College Health Association also offers strategies that are in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for institutions looking to reduce or end tobacco use on campuses. They include evidence-based ideas on banning e-cigarettes, as well as how to highlight risks and solutions through education and prevention.

“We do not want to see another 5 million young people become dependent on e-cigarettes or other tobacco products, especially as they transition to college and university campuses,” ACHA leaders say in the report.

Full-out bans on tobacco

While many colleges have eliminated several forms of tobacco, these are the colleges and universities that have banned all tobacco categories (100% tobacco free, ban on all e-devices and products, ban on smoking/vaping marijuana, and ban on hookah use on campus.) Note: Springfield College has many locations across the U.S. that qualify:


  • Southern Union State Community College
  • University of South Alabama


  • Alaska Pacific University


  • North Arkansas College
  • Shorter College
  • University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton


  • Berkeley City College
  • California Baptist University
  • Citrus College
  • Coastline Community College
  • Contra Costa College
  • Diablo Valley College
  • Laney College
  • Los Medanos College
  • Merritt College
  • Mills College
  • Orange Coast College
  • Pacific Union College
  • Sacramento City College
  • Skyline College
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of California, San Diego
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • Whittier College
  • Woodland Community College
  • Yuba College


  • Colorado Christian University
  • Colorado Mountain College
  • University of Northern Colorado


  • Norwalk Community College
  • Wesleyan University


  • Daytona State College
  • College of the Florida Keys
  • University of Tampa


  • Georgia Southern University
  • Gordon State College
  • Ogeechee Technical College


  • College of DuPage
  • Danville Area Community College
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Illinois Eastern Community Colleges
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Moody Bible Institute
  • Saint Xavier University
  • Triton College
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Wheaton College


  • Franklin College
  • Grace College and Theological Seminary
  • Saint Mary’s College


  • Loras College


  • Flint Hills Technical College
  • University of Kansas


  • Dillard University
  • Louisiana Delta Community College
  • Louisiana State University at Shreveport


  • Maine Maritime Academy
  • University of Maine
  • University of Southern Maine


  • College of Southern Maryland
  • Goucher College
  • Hagerstown Community College


  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • Quincy College


  • Michigan State University
  • Moody Theological Seminary
  • Spring Arbor University
  • University of Michigan


  • Minnesota West Community and Technical College


  • Alcorn State University
  • Hinds Community College at Utica
  • Jackson State University
  • Jones County Junior College
  • Mississippi Delta Community College
  • Mississippi Valley State University
  • University of Mississippi


  • Evangel University
  • Missouri State University-West Plains
  • Rockhurst University
  • University of Missouri


  • Walla Walla University-Montana


  • Central Community College
  • Union College


  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas


  • Nashua Community College
  • Plymouth State University


  • Bergen Community College
  • New Jersey City University
  • Raritan Valley Community College
  • Peter’s University
  • William Paterson University


  • University of New Mexico-Los Alamos
  • University of New Mexico-Taos


  • Dominican College
  • LIU-Brooklyn
  • SUNY-Albany
  • SUNY-Erie Community College
  • SUNY-Oswego
  • SUNY-Rockland Community College
  • SUNY-Sullivan County Community College


  • Bennett College
  • Johnson C. Smith University
  • Robeson Community College


  • Ashland University-Mansfield
  • Grace College Akron
  • Owens State Community College
  • The Ohio State University
  • University of Findlay


  • Oklahoma City Community College
  • Oklahoma Panhandle State University
  • Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City
  • Oklahoma State University-Tulsa
  • Oklahoma State University-Stillwater
  • Southern Nazarene University


  • Northwest University-Salem
  • Oregon State University-Main
  • Oregon State University-Cascades
  • Pacific University-Hillsboro
  • Treasure Valley Community College
  • Walla Walla University-Oregon


  • Community College of Allegheny County
  • Muhlenberg College
  • University of the Sciences


  • Claflin University


  • American Baptist University


  • Abilene Christian University
  • Hardin-Simmons University


  • Dixie State University


  • Clark College
  • Moody Bible Institute
  • Northwest University
  • Seattle Pacific University
  • Walla Walla University


  • Davis & Elkins College
Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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