University of Alabama bans tobacco use


The University of Alabama, deep in tobacco country and deep in anti-regulatory country, announced last week that it is going completely tobacco-free. That means no cigarettes, no chew, not even e-cigs (though these are not technically a tobacco product) on the Tuscaloosa campus (it also includes frats and sororities). Alabama joins numerous other college campuses around the country in banning tobacco products (not many of those are in the Deep South, however.). Auburn and Troy (which is in Alabama) have also banned tobacco products while University of Alabama-Birmingham has a policy of not hiring smokers.

Smoking bans, while popular throughout much of the country, are still a stickler in the South. A poll connected to this Univ. of Alabama article shows that 53 percent are opposed to the tobacco ban, while 46 percent are in favour of it. Trust me, polls in other parts of the country would likely run two-to-one or even three-to-one in favour.

Alabama is kind of an odd duck when it comes to smoking bans overall. There is no stateside smoking ban, however, Alabama might have the most communities with city bans. There’s at least two or three dozen cities in Alabama with smoking bans, including the biggest city, Birmingham. Texas has a similar setup, virtually every major city in Texas has a smoking ban, but their state Legislatures are so conservative, statewide bans are a total nonstarter.

This part of the story is kind of interesting, last year, the student government association at Alabama actually voted against a tobacco ban, but the university got support from five campus organizations to implement a ban.