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Mike DeWine Overturns Tobacco Bill; Impact at WSU

Wright State Physicians Building | Photo by Monica Brutto | The Wright State Guardian

Ohio Governor enhances position on regulation of tobacco and flavored nicotine products by overturning new state bill. 

Addressing the issue of youth tobacco use

On Jan. 5, 2023, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine overruled House Bill 513 regarding regulation of tobacco and nicotine products; the Ohio House passed the bill on Dec. 14, 2022, prohibiting local regulation of tobacco and alternative nicotine products and putting that power in the hands of the state.

In overturning the bill, DeWine discussed the seriousness of the issue with tobacco and youth in Ohio. In the veto message overturning the measure, the governor cited that nearly 81% of youth between the ages of 12 and 17 who have ever used a tobacco product reported the first used product was flavored, according to a 2015 study in “Journal of the American Medical Association.”

“We’re seeing more young people vape because of the enticing flavors available, which leads them to becoming addicted. That’s why I vetoed HB 513, which would’ve prohibited local governments from enacting laws to discourage the use of tobacco,” DeWine tweeted.

Dr. Chris Taylor, dean of students at Wright State University, shared DeWine’s concern about flavored tobacco products.

“I think it’s a good idea, I think that the manufacturers, even if it’s inadvertent, I think it targets, you know, younger people, to get started and use their product,” Taylor said.

Wright State’s policy on tobacco

Wright State’s path to a smoke-free campus began in 2012. In July of that year, the Ohio Board of Regents recommended that all public universities become tobacco-free. Under Ohio Administrative Code 3352-7-05, WSU became completely tobacco-free on July 3, 2012.

“The state actually mandated at some point that all state facilities, which we are one, ban tobacco, so we were just catching up with what the state was mandating us to do,” Taylor said.

Taylor added that there were some adjustments in the first six months to a year after the university enacted the policy (with some tobacco use still present), but over the last five years, infractions are nearly non-existent.

According to Wright State’s Human Resources page on its tobacco policy, the university understands the health consequences of tobacco, noting that it is the leading cause of preventable death nation-wide. 

“The tobacco-free initiative encourages a cleaner and greener campus while preparing our students for future tobacco-free environments,” the policy states. 

WSU remains a tobacco-free campus since it issued Policy 7230 banning the use of tobacco on both the Dayton and Lake Campus.

Violations and exceptions

“Tobacco violations at this point are pretty low, we occasionally find people who have been smoking in their residence hallway or apartment,” Taylor said.

If a student is caught smoking or vaping on campus, that individual is subject to a code of conduct violation and a $25 administrative fee for the offense.

As listed in policy 7230.5, there are certain limitations to the tobacco ban on campus with permission from a provost or designee.

The Wright State Nutter Center, which is located on the southeast side of the campus, hosts a variety of Raider athletic events, in addition to various concerts and other performances. According to the arena’s website, the Nutter Center is a smokeless facility, except for outdoor designated areas located at gates three and six.

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