Letter to the Editor: Re: “Proposed Tobacco Ban Would Only Apply to Student Smokers”

On Dec. 6, The Oberlin Review published an article titled “Proposed Tobacco Ban Would Only Apply to Student Smokers” (“Proposed Tobacco Ban Would Only Apply to Student Smokers,” The Oberlin Review, Dec. 6, 2013). This title is misleading and we would like to take the opportunity to clarify a few misunderstandings.

The proposed tobacco-free policy is still in draft form with a goal of a 2016 implementation time frame. If approved, the tobacco-free policy would apply to everyone. Regardless of constituency, efforts are currently focused on education, support for cessation and social policy — and that would not substantively change moving forward.

The Tobacco Subcommittee, including student members, has been working on this issue for more than three years. This work, much of it publicly delivered via multiple “tobacco-talks” to students and staff, has included education efforts related to health issues, environmental sustainability and other social justice concerns, ongoing cessation efforts, outreach to multiple offices and student organizations, surveying of relevant constituencies and a review of best practice at other colleges and universities.

Colleges and universities moving toward a tobacco-free campus at the encouragement of many public health bodies is a significant national conversation, and it only makes sense that Oberlin would take part. Nothing has been settled, and there is a lot to discuss.

The article suggests that adoption of the policy is subject to a Student Senate vote in the spring of 2014, but as with other policy changes, once a final draft is created, it will be shared with various groups including Student Senate and then to General Faculty for potential approval.

The Tobacco Subcommittee will release a formal policy proposal next semester, and the Student Senate will hold several forums designed to foster discussion on the issue. In an ongoing effort to be transparent, by January a website will serve as a clearinghouse of all information related to our efforts with opportunities to give feedback. As always, anybody interested in providing input to the committee is encouraged to do so.


Lori K. Morgan Flood
Associate Dean/Director of Wellness

Ehrai Adams
Assistant Director of Wellness,

Machmud Makhmudov ’16
Student Senate Liaison

Peter Arden ’14
Student Senate, RA
Office of Student Wellness

Dave Bender,
Supervisor/Safety and Security
Office of Wellness