Brandi Higgins would like to quit smoking someday, but still she isn’t pleased that starting Wednesday the Montana State University campus where she works will outlaw all forms of tobacco.
“I feel like it was an extreme step – they should have looked at having certain areas on campus for smokers,” said Higgins, 26, who works in the Strand Union Building as operations manager for MSU’s student government.
Instead of smoking outdoors near the SUB, Higgins will have to hike two blocks, past the Engineering and Physical Science Building, to a South Sixth Avenue sidewalk that borders campus.
She said she’ll feel like “a freak show on display … all us smokers, herded to one area, obviously shunned to the sidewalk.”
Yet Danielle Tucker, an Illinois high school student visiting MSU with her parents, said the tobacco ban is a good idea, because it will help students get a healthy start to their lives.
“That’s wonderful,” mom Sharon Tucker said of a smoking ban. “I’m allergic to it. It will save some people from having cancer. … They spit on the ground – disgusting.”
Jenny Haubenreiser worked for years to make the Bozeman campus tobacco-free, which will take effect on Wednesday.
“We’re excited -- it’s a major public health initiative that’s going to save lives,” said Haubenreiser, director of health promotions in the MSU Student Health Service.
The federal Centers for Disease Control, she said, “estimates that one-third to one half of tobacco users will die prematurely.”
The policy’s goals are to create a healthy environment, protect people from harmful second-hand smoke, reduce toxic litter, support people who are trying to quit, and send a message that there is no safe form of tobacco.