UCM Continues Building Culture of Compliance Regarding Tobacco-Free Campus
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (July 1, 2014) – Six months after the University of Central Missouri began implementation of its new tobacco policy, the university is receiving positive feedback regarding the change to a tobacco-free campus amidst continuing efforts to promote policy compliance. Upcoming training sessions that include an opportunity for employee supervisors beginning Aug. 6 will assist in the compliance effort.
“We all agree the campus atmosphere is healthier and more inviting since January 2014. Since so much progress has already been made, now we have to continue to get everyone on board with this effort,” said Mollie Dinwiddie, dean of Library Services and chair of the Tobacco Policy Implementation Committee.
Since the Tobacco Policy became effective Jan. 1, Dinwiddie has been meeting monthly with a group of individuals at UCM to address issues related to the successful implementation of the new policy. The committee, which includes employees representing different campus units, was convened by Provost and Chief Learning Officer Deborah Curtis to help ensure a smooth transition to a tobacco-free environment.
The university spent several months leading up to Jan. 1, and the past six months, increasing awareness of the new policy. It is also taking an educational approach to implementation with formal discipline for those who are consistently non-compliant. Part of this effort, Dinwiddie said, is going to include training sessions for individuals, particularly supervisors who are responsible for ensuring that employees do not use tobacco on campus per the university’s policy. The first training session is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, in Elliott Student Union 304-306.
“This is not exclusive, but it is a good opportunity for those who are in supervisory or leadership roles to learn how to respond to individuals who may be non-compliant,” Dinwiddie said. “Of course, those who use tobacco are also welcome to attend.”
Dinwiddie added that the training session also will teach participants how to respond to students who do not comply with the policy. Additional training opportunities will be scheduled during this fall and dates will be announced.
The Board of Governors adopted the Tobacco Policy to promote a healthy and respectful campus environment. The policy prohibits all forms of tobacco use on both the Warrensburg campus and at the UCM Summit Center in Lee’s Summit, and pertains to all tobacco products, as well as nicotine delivery methods not approved by the FDA. This includes traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pipes, cigars, hookah/water pipes and all other forms of smoke-generating products. It also includes smokeless tobacco such as chewing tobacco, snus and nuff.
Since the policy became effective, the Tobacco Implementation Committee has worked closely with the Office of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention (VSAP) to plan programming, and to help communicate the policy to the campus and beyond. It has also helped gauge campus opinion regarding progress made in becoming tobacco-free.
VSAP Director Amy Kiger said a survey of faculty and staff conducted in spring 2014 showed that the majority of the nearly 1,000 survey respondents – at least 60 percent - believe the university has a much “cleaner” campus environment as the result of becoming tobacco-free. Some 64 percent believe most people are complying with the policy, and 68 percent noted the tobacco-free campus as a positive change for the university.
Demonstrating a continued need to focus on education and training to help improve compliance, only 30 percent said they remind people using tobacco products that the campus is tobacco-free. About 24 percent of the survey respondents indicated they were comfortable reminding people of the tobacco policy. Additionally, most people surveyed also believe the university has done an adequate job with areas such as signage, communicating with employees, students and visitors about the change to a tobacco-free campus, and promotion and implementation of the new policy, according to Kiger.
Kiger said new tools are being developed to further help with compliance. Among them is an online form that gives members of the campus community an opportunity to report specific locations where there are consistent tobacco policy violations. The form is available at http://bit.lv/tobaccoreport.
“Response to the violations will include monitoring these areas, providing education about the policy to individuals observed using tobacco, and initiating a more formal reporting process if individuals are consistently non-compliant,” Kiger said.
Additional resources such as color fliers and printable information cards, tobacco cessation opportunities, information about how to respond to individuals who violate policy, a color map that outlines perimeters where tobacco use is not allowed, and opportunities to provide comments/suggestions regarding the tobacco policy are available at ucmo.edu/tobacco.
Individuals who are interested in helping to promote the policy on campus can also obtain 11x17-inch posters by contacting the Tobacco Implementation Committee chair at firstname.lastname@example.org. Dinwiddie also can be reached by calling 660-543-4140.