UCM to Become Tobacco-Free by July 2014
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Nov. 16, 2012) – After a yearlong process that included campus-wide input, the University of Central Missouri Board of Governors today approved a new policy to make UCM a tobacco-free institution by July 2014. According to documents considered by the board, the purpose of the new Use of Tobacco Policy is to “promote the health of the university community, to preserve and protect university property, and to provide a clean and safe environment to work, study and learn.”
The policy was developed by an 11-member campus committee that was created in fall 2011 at the request of President Charles Ambrose. He charged members with reviewing the current tobacco policy, and making recommendations about whether or not to become smoke-free. After months of research, reaching out to campus constituents, seeking information about best practices in higher education, and gaining input and support from groups such as the Strategic Leadership Team and Student Government Association, the committee submitted a proposed policy that includes all forms of tobacco use. The new policy prohibits on all UCM campuses 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.
This measure significantly updates the current university policy, which was last revised and approved in May 2005. The 2005 policy prohibited all tobacco use indoors and permits smoking only in designated areas throughout campus.
With this change in policy, UCM will become 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.
“We appreciate the work of the Tobacco Policy Committee, and its efforts to seek input and information from many different individuals and groups, including those who have been involved in tobacco policy decisions at other institutions. 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.”
Under the policy, 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. 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.
Committee leadership was provided by Amy Kiger, director of violence and substance abuse prevention, and Janice Putnam, professor of nursing. Their team included students, faculty and other campus employees who are smokers, non-smokers, and former tobacco users.
“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 Putnam. “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.”
Kiger said implementation of the Use of Tobacco Policy will engage the campus community in creating a culture of policy compliance. This will include groups of faculty, staff and students who be trained in the best practices in bystander intervention. They will help educate individuals who are non-compliant about the new policy, offer cessation information, and request voluntary compliance. For more information about the policy and implementation plan, contact Kiger at 660-543-4044.