Northeastern University announced Monday that its campus will go completely smoke-free beginning fall 2013 in an effort to improve campus-wide health, making it one of the first large Boston colleges to do so.
The decision came after months of research, discussion, and polling done by a 10-person committee made up of both faculty and students, and was motivated by an effort to improve overall health for smokers and non-smokers alike. Terry Fulmer, dean of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern and chair of the smoking policy committee, says the ruling comes down to valuing public health. “Nearly half a million people die from cigarette-related, smoke-related diseases or disorders every year,” she explains. “It’s a really crucial public health issue, and we really need to do everything we can to help, particularly young individuals, figure a smoke-free future.”
Details about the exact policy—including how it will be enforced and what the consequences for those caught smoking will be, worthy questions considering the size of Northeastern’s campus and student body—have yet to be finalized, but an email sent to the student body Monday says the school is at work developing “an implementation plan that will include education efforts, and an awareness campaign around smoking cessation resources.”