(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – Soon, smokers and dippers will have to snuff that butt and toss the chew before stepping onto the University of Central Missouri campus.
The UCM Board of Governors approved a policy Friday to make the campus tobacco-free by July 2014.
“This tobacco-free policy communicates that we as an institution value health, and will help prevent incoming students from moving from experimentation and casual use to a daily addictive practice,” said Janice Putnam, professor of nursing, in a news release. “Many businesses, cities, and states are creating similar policies to protect the health of their employees, so in addition to the health benefits, a tobacco-free campus helps prepare our students for a tobacco-free work environment.”
The policy was developed by an 11-member campus committee that was created in fall 2011 at the request of President Charles Ambrose, according to the news release. He charged members with reviewing the current tobacco policy, and making recommendations about whether or not to become smoke-free.
The new policy prohibits on-campus use of all tobacco products and nicotine delivery methods not approved by the FDA, including traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pipes, cigars, hookah/water pipes and all other forms of smoke-generating products, and smokeless tobacco such as chewing tobacco, snus and snuff.
Exemptions to this policy include personal vehicles, the Keth Memorial Golf Course range at Pertle Springs, parking lots during designated public events such as commencement, as well as sporting or performing arts events. Additionally, tobacco use may be permitted for controlled research and educational or religious ceremonial purposes, if approved by the proper senior administrator. The sale of tobacco products on campus and tobacco advertisements in any university-owned media will be prohibited.
This measure updates the current university policy, approved in May 2005, which prohibited all tobacco use indoors and permitted smoking only in designated areas throughout campus.
UCM becomes one of 825 colleges and universities nationwide that have indoor and outdoor smoke-free policies, and one of 608 campuses that are tobacco free. UCM becomes one of 12 Missouri public and private colleges and university campuses that have adopted tobacco-free policies.
UCM will begin implementing the new policy in January 2014, providing a six-month initiation period for education, distribution of information, and opportunities for individuals who want to stop using tobacco to take advantage of low-cost cessation resources. Such resources are currently available on campus, and more information about them is available at ucmo.edu/vsap/cessation/.
“In adopting best practices, we learned from the experience of those who have gone before us. When creating a culture of change on campus related to tobacco use it is particularly important that change not happen overnight,” Ambrose said. “We want to provide a healthy and supportive campus environment, and this includes ample time to educate people about the new policy and the many resources that are available to help those who wish to successfully quit using tobacco.”
Tobacco will be prohibited on campus grounds and in all university-controlled buildings, including residence halls and apartments, as well as in university-owned or leased vehicles.
For more information about the policy and implementation plan, contact Amy Kiger, director of violence and substance abuse prevention, at 660-543-4044.