June 7, 2010
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan Athletic Department will make Michigan Stadium a smoke-free zone when the 2010 season opens against Connecticut Sept. 4.
"We have allowed individuals to smoke on the concourse in the past, but with the new renovations and the university's commitment to become a smoke-free campus in 2011, we decided it was in the best interest of everyone to institute the change now," said U-M director of athletics Dave Brandon. "The move will ensure a healthier environment for all fans attending Wolverine football games."
Smoking already was not permitted inside Michigan Stadium's seated-bowl area. Now the smoke-free environment will extend to everything inside the gates of the Big House.
In April of 2009, the University of Michigan announced its commitment to become a smoke-free environment in July 2011. The change aligns perfectly with the institution's goal to improve the health of the U-M community. Since the change was announced, thousands of students, faculty and staff have provided feedback regarding the roll out of the plan to ensure it occurs in a thoughtful, inclusive and respectful manner.
Subcommittees which include smokers, former smokers and never-smokers are carefully considering the implications for student life, faculty and staff, grounds and facilities, and visitors to the university.
The idea to have the university go entirely smoke-free began with student complaints, and it is one more step along a path set in the 1980s, noted Robert Winfield, M.D., the university's chief health officer and co-chair of the Smoke-free Initiative committee along with Kenneth Warner, dean of the School of Public Health. In 1987, the university adopted a ban on smoking in buildings, (with exceptions for some residence halls) and in university vehicles. In 1998, the U-M Health System prohibited smoking on its grounds and in public spaces, and in 2003, the student-led Residence Halls Association eliminated smoking from all resident halls.
The U-M will join the University of Iowa and Indiana University, both of which implemented their smoke-free campuses in 2008. In all, more than 260 campuses in the United States and elsewhere have gone smoke-free.
For more information on the smoke-free initiative, go to www.hr.umich.edu/smokefree.
Contact: Bruce Madej (734) 763-4423