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United Tribes college banning tobacco on campus

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — United Tribes Technical College is becoming the first tribal college in North Dakota to ban tobacco.

The ban will go into effect on the Bismarck campus Jan. 1. College President David Gipp and others planned a policy signing ceremony Thursday, coinciding with the 36th annual “Great American Smokeout” day, an American Cancer Society campaign aimed at getting tobacco users to quit.

The college is run by North Dakota tribes. The smoke-free policy was developed by its Wellness Circle, a group that identifies ways to improve campus health and wellness, and adopted by the United Tribes Administrative Council. The policy will be printed in student and employee handbooks, and the college will offer tobacco cessation classes.

Wellness Circle facilitator Pat Aune told The Bismarck Tribune that the group has been working toward a smoke-free policy for years.

“It takes a long time to bring the whole community along on such a big change,” she said.

United Tribes hopes to be an example for other tribal colleges in the state, Aune said.