In July 2013, former NMU president David Haynes appointed a committee to revisit an ongoing discussion on whether Northern Michigan University should become a tobacco-free campus. The debate, beginning in the late 1990s, was last a featured topic in 2009 when former university president, Les Wong, proposed a smoke-free campus ban. A university forum, several focus groups and a campus-wide survey were conducted. The results of the survey were split 50-50. Former president Wong’s proposal included banning people from smoking in personal vehicles parked on campus. This clause sparked a significant amount of contention for many who supported going smoke-free, but felt the university shouldn’t be able to tell people what they can or can’t do in private vehicles.

The tobacco-free committee’s collection of data included a campus-wide survey that was made available to all NMU students, faculty and staff during November 2013. Out of 3,208 participants, 60 percent were in favor of the tobacco-free proposal. After conducting interviews, research and receiving the results of the survey the committee recommended NMU join the over 1,200 smoke-free and 800 tobacco free campuses across the nation.

The following was the implementation timeline that NMU followed: 


February Cessation workshops, start informing the NMU Community
March Post temporary signage throughout campus
April Intensify educational campaign
May Disseminate additional information to the NMU community
June Continue distribution of information
July Post permanent signage throughout campus, prepare for launch date
August Full launch of tobacco-free policy