UCM Progressing in Tobacco Policy Implementation, Cessation Opportunities
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (April 11, 2014) – While it has been slightly more than four months since the University of Central Missouri initiated a change in policy to create a tobacco-free campus, efforts, including an upcoming campus survey, are continuing to help make people aware of the policy and to assist those trying to give up tobacco.
“Quitting is not an event. It is a process,” said Chianne Torrance, a tobacco cessation coach in the Office of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention (VSAP).
She is a member of the VSAP staff who has been actively engaged in cessation activities for students, faculty and staff who want to reduce their dependence on nicotine. While VSAP has historically offered cessation assistance, Torrance’s work is especially important since UCM adopted a new policy, effective Jan. 1, 2014, that prohibits all forms of tobacco use on campus property. The only exception is that tobacco can be used at the 18-hole golf course at Pertle Springs, and at limited special university activities such as tailgating in parking lots during athletic events.
Since the policy became effective, the university, through the VSAP staff, has continued to communicate the tobacco-free message across campus through new signage, window displays, web materials, and often word of mouth. The office has also been instrumental in helping to ensure a smooth implementation and to help foster compliance.
Amy Kiger, director of VSAP, said the university has taken an educational approach to enforcement, also believing that task is the shared responsibility of everyone on campus. To help make a smooth transition to a tobacco-free campus, VSAP has coordinated special training for administrators, faculty, staff and students to teach them how to respectfully share information about the new policy with those who are non-compliant, and educate tobacco users regarding options that will help them adjust to life at UCM under the new policy. Some college and universities that aren’t tobacco-free are looking at Central Missouri to see how this approach works, Kiger said.
“It’s important that we are diligent as we transition to a tobacco-free campus, there’s still a lot of work to do but we are encouraged by the number of people who are talking about the policy,” she noted. “We’re getting calls from other institutions wanting to know about our process.”
Ensuring the policy’s smooth implementation has included the appointment of a Tobacco Implementation Committee that reports to Deborah Curtis, provost and chief academic officer, to address special issues related to tobacco use at UCM. The group chaired by Mollie Dinwiddie, dean of library services, recently worked to identify specific boundaries on campus where tobacco is not allowed. To find the map, visit ucmo.edu/campusmap, click on “Launch the interactive campus map,” then click on the layers and features section at the bottom left- hand corner of the page.
The university also is continuing to assess progress on the policy by seeking input from campus members. Keith Jones, a graduate assistant in VSAP, is involved in this project.
“The Tobacco Policy Implementation Committee has approved a follow-up survey that will be open during the week of April 14 for students, faculty and staff. “Essentially, it is an eight-statement survey to which people can rate their agreement/disagreement. It takes about one to two minutes to complete,” Jones said. He added, the survey can be found at surveymonkey.com/s/TobaccoFreePolicyUCMsurvey.
An additional study is being led by Janice Putnam, interim director for the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Integrity. Its purpose is to measure compliance with the tobacco-free policy pre- and post-policy implementation using the Tobacco Free Compliance Assessment Tool (TF-CAT). The TF-CAT tool requires counting cigarette butts in specific locations, observing smokers as an observation of public behavior, and documenting weather conditions.
Helping people who smoke, chew or dip is important to implementing the new policy, and sometimes success is measured in small increments. VSAP staff members who work in tobacco cessation help individuals to develop plans that will meet their specific needs. Torrance said individuals who seek free, confidential assistance on campus should not measure their cessation results with those of others.
“Some people come in and just want to get through the work day. If they can get to that point, we consider that a success,” she noted.
For those wanting to curb their use of tobacco, VSAP offers:
- Up to 12 meetings with a trained cessation coach
- If desired, up to three months of free nicotine replacement therapy (patches, gum or lozenges)
- A personal cessation plan
A new opportunity for 2014, UCM employees actively participating in the campus tobacco cessation program can utilize the Student Recreation and Wellness Center at no cost, even if they did not obtain the requisite visits in the past six months.
Anyone who has questions about the tobacco policy at UCM or wants to learn more about tobacco cessation opportunities should contact Mollie Dinwiddie at 660-543-4140, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ucmo.edu/free. For more information about tobacco cessation opportunities, individuals may call the Office of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention at 660-543-4044 or stop by Administration 102. They may also visit the website, ucmo.edu/vsap/cessation/.