There was a time when smoking cigarettes was as much a part of a college education as living with a roommate or pulling an all-nighter.

Those days are gone, at the University of Maine at least. As of 2011, the Orono campus will be officially tobacco-free. The ban which already applies to school buildings and vehicles will be extended to the entire grounds of the campus.

This makes a lot of sense, since smoking is the No. 1 preventable cause of death, and it’s not only the smoker who is put at risk. People who find themselves in the vicinity of tobacco smoke also face significant health risks. The institution has a responsibility to protect its members from tobacco smoke, just like every other environmental threat.

Making the campus smoke-free, one of more than 350 such schools in the country, will help market UMaine to health-conscious students.

And college is a place where students come to learn, so habits they pick up during those years can follow them forever. The university should do all it can to send the message that a tobacco addiction is not something students want to take with them after graduation.


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