ONE of America’s top universities, named after James Duke who made his fortune from tobacco, is set to go smoke-free from 2020 – but will allow students to vape.
Duke University will join over 2,000 educational institutions in outlawing smoking within two years – but unlike many American universities, the private research school will not ban e-cigarettes on campus.
Instead students will be allowed to vape and use therapeutic nicotine aids on its North Carolina university grounds.
The move has been cited as ironic since Duke’s history is bound together with tobacco and in particular, cigarettes, after it was named after donor James Buchanan Duke, who began his American Tobacco Company there in 1890.
The industrial magnate — the first to use cigarette rolling machines to produce cigarettes — at one time controlled 90 percent of the U.S. cigarette market. He also co-founded the power company that later morphed into what is now called Duke Energy. In 1924, after Duke made several generous gifts to then-Trinity College, the trustees there agreed to change the name of their institution to Duke University.
But in a letter to students, faculty and staff this week Duke University President Vincent Price announced the campus would be totally smoke-free effective July 1, 2020. The new policy will allow the use of e-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and smoking cessation aids that contain nicotine. Duke stores will also cease the sale of tobacco products by July 1 of this year.
“In taking this important step, Duke will be joining many other colleges and universities across the country that have adopted smoke-free policies,” Price wrote. “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in North Carolina and the United States. Research reveals that two thirds of smokers will die from an illness caused by smoking. This new policy reflects our commitment to the health of every person who studies or works in our community.
“We are implementing the policy over more than two years in order to allow sufficient time and opportunity for members of our community to seek support and treatment to stop smoking.”