Northern Arizona University now tobacco free -- with two exceptions

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Northern Arizona University is now a tobacco-free university.

The school will not allow chewing tobacco, cigars, hookah or e-cigarettes on campus. NAU announced the change in May and it took effect this month.

NAU already had a policy prohibiting smoking in all university buildings and university-owned vehicles, but this measure bans it across campus -- inside or outside.

The policy applies to students, faculty, staff, visitors, and everyone on the NAU campus.

One of two exceptions includes the use of ceremonial tobacco, permissible by the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. Tobacco for ceremonial use must be approved in advance.

The other exception is the use of tobacco in the classroom setting, such as in labs, classroom instruction and experiments.

NAU policy says students and staff may face disciplinary action and visitors will be asked to leave if they don't comply.

According to a release from NAU, more than 1,100 colleges and universities nationwide have implemented similar policies.

As for why the change is coming, the release pointed to health and environmental reasoning.

"A tobacco-free policy will create a healthy and safe learning and working environment for all, free of tobacco and secondhand smoke," the release read. "A tobacco-free policy will also protect the natural environment at NAU by reducing air pollution and the litter associated with tobacco use."

The University of Arizona went tobacco free in August 2014. Arizona State University started enforcing a similar policy in June 2015. 

Copyright 2016 KPNX


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