I protest the one-sided view of August 30 article regarding tobacco free campus in Tech Today. In my opinion the article is one sided and omits important facts. Article indicates :
In a 2010 survey, only 6-7 percent of students and employees were daily users of tobacco products. Nationwide, as of March 2012, some 270 campuses have gone tobacco free, and 650 have gone smoke free. The Undergraduate Student Government voted in favor of Michigan Tech becoming tobacco free in October 2012.
While mentioning that the Undergraduate Student Government voted in favor of ban, it simply omits the fact that the University Senate has voted against the ban by a 2/3rds majority in a referendum. It also does not mention that the Union staff has voted against the ban by 72 percent. USG’s vote also was controversial as it did not involve a referendum in an issue that will affect the entire campus community.
The article also mentions a survey and claims that only 6-7 percent of the campus community uses tobacco. As I served as the Senate representative to the Tobacco committee, I do have a copy of this survey. The mentioned survey was conducted by Inter-Residence Hall Council as a “research study”. Using its results in this manner is ethically wrong. For your reference, I copied the relevant portion of its disclaimer below:
By taking this survey, you agree that you have read and understood the following: You are being invited to participate in a research study about smoking and tobacco on campus. The survey is being conducted by the Inter-Residence Hall Council, a student organization at Michigan Technological University, under advisement of Heather Simpson, Assistant Director of Housing and Residential Life.
There are no known risks if you decide to participate in this research study. There are no costs to you for participating in this study. The information you provide will be used to assess employees’ smoking behaviors and attitudes. The questionnaire will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete.
The information collected may not benefit you directly, but the information learned in this study should provide more general benefits.
Furthermore, the phrase “only 6-7 percent of students and employees” is incorrect. 86.97 percent of those who answered the survey were undergraduate students, 11.85 % were graduate students and a merely 1.18 % were employees. Given these numbers, the survey does not represent the views of the employees of the University. In this survey, for the question :
Q4: Do you smoke? If so how frequently do you smoke?
the answers were:
154 (6.53 %) yes, often.
176 (7.46 %) yes, occasionally.
220 (9.33 %) yes, rarely.
301 (12.76 %) No, but I once did.
1508 (63.83 %) No, I never have.
Excluding rarely, this yields 13.99 percent. Nationally, 10-15 % of college students smoke. Note that this number does not include those who chew tobacco, whereas your article uses the word “use”. In the same survey:
Q7. Do you intend to smoke or use tobacco products in the future? Why or why not?
was answered “yes” by 534 people (22.79 %). Also in this survey, Q14, “How do you feel about the idea of a tobacco/smoking ban on campus?” was answered “Yes, I would support a tobacco ban” by only 32.65 % of the students who answered the survey.
I am copying the message to Dr. Bulleit, our previous Senate president for his reference.