Jan. 16 Event Celebrates Tobacco-Free Campus
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 13, 2014) – Calling attention to a new policy that became effective at the beginning of 2014, the University of Central Missouri is planning the Tobacco-Free Campus Celebration 1-3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16. The special event at the Elliott Student Union Atrium is open to everyone and includes refreshments, “Proud to be Tobacco Free” t-shirt giveaways and remarks at 1:30 p.m. by Deborah Curtis, provost and chief academic officer.
The new tobacco policy is designed to further promote a healthy and respectful campus environment. It was approved by the UCM Board of Governors in November 2012, following a year-long research and development process that began with a committee appointed by University President Charles Ambrose. After months of work that included 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 to the governing board that called for a tobacco-free campus.
“Becoming tobacco free is an important step for the university, and it is consistent with what is taking place in higher education and at businesses and other public places in communities throughout the country,” Ambrose said. “We are very grateful for everyone who contributed to making this new policy possible, and look forward to the future and the benefits of a tobacco-free UCM. We’re committed to creating the best living, learning and working environment we can provide members of the campus community.”
The tobacco 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.
The previous policy, updated in 2005, prohibited all tobacco use indoors, but permitted smoking in designated areas throughout campus.
Amy Kiger, director of Violence and Substance Abuse Prevention, and Janice Putnam, professor of nursing and associate dean of the School of Graduate and Extended Studies, led the 11-member tobacco policy committee. Kiger continues to work UCM members to develop appropriate signage, fliers, banners, a website, and other helpful information needed to make the campus community and other UCM constituents aware that UCM is now tobacco free.
While the tobacco policy is now effective, UCM continues to educate the community about the policy. In the fall, Kiger and her staff created the Tobacco Free Ambassadors, a student group that will help make their peers aware of the new policy. They plan to spend the beginning of the spring semester distributing coupons for free soda or coffee to people on campus as a way to educate and thank them for respecting the university policy.
The Tobacco Procedures Group also was established late in the fall semester by the provost’s office to assist with tobacco policy implementation and evaluation as the university moves forward with a tobacco-free campus. This group, chaired by Mollie Dinwiddie, dean of Library Services, also will address any specific issues that develop concerning the policy.
UCM joins a growing number of colleges and universities across the state and nation that have gone tobacco free. Central Missouri’s Tobacco-Free Campus Celebration also takes place on the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health. This was the first analysis about the effects of tobacco and smoking, which led to initiatives to lower tobacco use in this country. Learn more about this landmark report and progress being made by visiting surgeongeneral.gov.
Individuals who want to know more about UCM becoming a tobacco-free campus are encouraged to visit the website, ucmo.edu/free.