Mavericks for Clean Air Task Force

Background and History of Tobacco-Free Campus Efforts at Minnesota State Mankato (2011-2019)

July 2011

Minnesota State Mankato adopted an initial tobacco-free policy in July 2011 which was implemented in January 2012.  At that time, a campus task force was convened, but did not meet beyond policy implementation. However, efforts for policy support in 2013-14 continued including: two cycles of American Lung Association funding for a health educator, a work group examining enforcement, and two students attempted to enforce the policy with reminders to violators for a 6-week period.

October 2016

In October 2016, several tobacco-free stakeholders submitted requests for tobacco-policy review during the 2016-17 policy review process specifically requesting enforcement provisions be added to the policy. The campus Policy Committee did officially review and slightly revise the policy, effective July 1, 2017. Changes included: 1) added definition for "electronic delivery devices", 2) removed exemption of tobacco use for instructional or artistic purposes. No enforcement mechanism was added at that time.

Summer 2018

During Summer 2018, Health Science Faculty Mary Kramer interviewed over 20 staff and faculty to obtain history and background about the tobacco-free campus policy at Minnesota State Mankato. All parties interviewed; administrators, union presidents, supervisors, emphasized that the tobacco-free policy enforcement remains problematic. A supervisor estimated 15-20 employee-hours/week to clean tobacco waste. An administrator noted the annual expense for tobacco waste are ~$60,000. During 2018, students and employees expressed frustration with a lack of policy enforcement in the campus newspaper. In Spring 2018, the student senate passed a resolution in support of Tobacco 21 and testified at a City Council meeting. The alarming prevalence of vaping in Minnesota youth and the national T21 movement has clarified the significance of policy change. Dr. Kramer subsequently submitted a grant application for funding from the American Cancer Society's Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI) program which was approved and signed by Minnesota State Mankato administration in August 2018 and successfully funded $14,899 for the grant period Nov 2018-May 1, 2020.

The Overall Project Goal, as specified in the grant, is to advocate for, adopt, and implement a 100% tobacco-free policy at Minnesota State Mankato. In summary, the TFGCI funds are being used to implement the following strategies that were not employed, or underdeveloped during the 2011 TF Policy implementation:

  1. A broader, longer-term tobacco-free task force to assist with the implementation and evaluation of a 100% TF policy that includes enforcement mechanisms. Local public health partners, including the Tobacco Public Health Law Center and the American Lung Association will provide input regarding the process based on extensive work in the field and legal expertise. (Workplan Obj 1)
  2. In-depth assessments to inform TF policy adoption and enforcement. (Workplan Obj 2).
  3. A strategic education and communications plan before and after policy update (Workplan Obj 3)
  4. Paid student assistants to assist with advocacy, education and communications.
  5. Creation and support for a policy element that emphasizes collective responsibilityof enforcement of policy.

May 2019

The task force started meeting in May 2019, and will meet monthly until at least May 2020. As of October 2019, a request has been made for the campus Policy Committee to review the tobacco-free policy, and the committee has been collecting input from students and employees, hearing about best practices from other institutions, and will present recommendations to the policy committee. More information about Mavericks for Clean Air, or TFCCI grant specifics can be obtained by emailing Dr. Mary Kramer

January 2020

The Minnesota State Mankato Policy Policy Consultation & Approval Committee has placed our campus tobacco free policy up for review. More information about Mavericks for Clean Air, or TFCCI grant specifics can be obtained by emailing Dr. Mary Kramer

June 2020

The Policy and The Minnesota State Mankato Policy Policy Consultation & Approval Committee has approved a final update to our campus tobacco free policy. Effective August 1, 2020, Minnesota State University Mankato will take a proactive step to maintain a safe and healthy environment inclusive for all by adopting an updated tobacco-free policy for our campus.

The updated policy explains the rationale for this update, and states that there is no tobacco use of any kind (i.e. e-cigarettes, cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco products) permitted on ANY university property including but not limited to parking lots, sidewalks, or inside personal cars.

This update has been in process for over 18 months but is even more relevant now with the Covid-19 pandemic. Smoking and secondhand smoke exposure compromise lung function and even brief exposure to secondhand smoke can makes breathing difficult for some. We are committed to ensuring that our campus environment does not induce coughs, sneezes, wheezing, or shortness of breath, behaviors that can spread or exacerbate the virus. Knowing that secondhand smoke travels indiscriminately and has the potential to compromise immune systems, particularly those with underlying conditions, we want to provide an inclusive environment and ensure mutual respect for all.

A big thanks to the Mavericks for Clean Air Task Force for studying the issue, and task force submitted two consensus statements, the last on 4/17/20 that laid out the data, rationale, and recommendations for updating the TF campus policy. Meeting minutes and the consensus statements are available below.

Association for Nonsmokers-Minnesota

Tobacco use and COVID-19 poster

Student Survey on Tobacco Use and Attitudes - Spring 2019 (PDF)

Employee Tobacco Survey - October 2019 (PDF)