By Courtney Crossfield for Eugene Daily News
The University of Oregon was the first of the Pac-12 to pronounce its campus smoke-free.
The smoking ban forbids the use of all tobacco products on grounds owned or controlled by the University. It includes all buildings, athletic/entertainment facilities (such as Autzen Stadium), sidewalks, roadways, and parking lots.
The University of Oregon revealed their goal of becoming smoke- and tobacco-free during the fall of 2010. Nearly two years later, the University achieved its goal by enacting a smoking ban that began the September 1, 2012.
Last fall was when UO began preparing the students, staff, and faculty for this change in policy. The Smoke and Tobacco Free University campaign, abbreviated as STFU, an acronym with a more widely recognized meaning, began in October and is meant to catch people’s attention.
In order to promote this drastic change in campus policy, numerous advertisements sprung up around campus. Fliers and stickers were placed around campus, some being located right next to smoking stations. Besides fliers and stickers, a countdown that began November 21, 2011 was installed to let everyone know the amount of time until the University of Oregon campus would be entirely smoke and tobacco-free.
Information about the new ban was published in nine languages for the international student population. Literature about being healthy and how to quit using tobacco products was also provided by UO.
The goal of the program and its resources is to provide education and awareness of the health issues of tobacco use. The school is providing free programs, patches, and gum for those wishing to quit.
University of Oregon Senator Lindy Mabuya, a Family and Human Services major, shares that because this ban is relatively new it will not be as strictly enforced during the first term. If a Department of Public Safety (DPS) officer were to catch someone with tobacco products within the university grounds, she says the officer would remind them of the new policy and ask them to dispose of it.
The Univeristy of Oregon and its DPS department will begin handing out penalties and fees beginning Winter of 2013. These fees will help pay for the provided tobacco cessation programs, programs that are also being helped by the administration office at the University of Oregon.
Recognized by the state of Oregon, Oregon Administrative Rule 571050-0005 allows the UO to fine unyielding offenders a $30 fee for violating the smoking ban.
“Our school is very green, very into being healthy,” Mabuya declares, explaining the results can lead to a cleaner campus. She goes on to say as a non-smoker she enjoys being able to walk around campus free of second-hand smoke.
Along with Mabuya, Senator Ben Rudin shares the pros and cons of the ban.
“A con recognized is, in this new policy, the administration is removing all the smoking dispensers completely.”
Rudin’s opinion is that they should only remove them from the campus grounds, not the surrounding areas. He explains that the lack of places to throw cigarette butts away will lead to them ending up on campus grounds.
Another negative issue they are confronted with is the affects the smoking ban may have toward the international students. Mabuya highlighted this cultural disparity when she stated that, in some countries,
“(Smoking is) part of their cultural identity, and by forcing them to stop could be isolating them.”
“It’s like gum chewing at school,” said fellow Senator Ben Rudin. “When you’re told not to (chew gum) there ends up being more gum underneath the desk.”
Around the Nation
774 colleges/universities nationwide became smoke-free as of July 2012.
This number has grown exponentially within the last two years, once having a membership of just 420 in July of 2010 and 530 in July of 2011. This change can partially be accredited to the American College Health Association(ACHA) undertaking a Position Statement on Tobacco in September 2009.
The first three sentences of the Position Statement on Tobacco read:
The American College Health Association (ACHA) acknowledges and supports the findings of the Surgeon General that tobacco use in any form, active and/or passive, is a significant health hazard. ACHA further recognizes that environmental tobacco smoke has been classified as a Class-A carcinogen and that there is no safe level of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), a recognized toxic air contaminant. In light of these health risks, ACHA has adopted a NO TOBACCO USE policy and encourages colleges and universities to be diligent in their efforts to achieve a 100% indoor and outdoor campus-wide tobacco-free environment.
Due to spreading societal support, the number of schools proceeding with this smoking ban is estimated to ascend.
To learn more about the University of Oregon and its newly implemented smoking ban, make sure to visit Healthy Oregon at http://healthyoregon.uoregon.edu/Tobacco.aspx and check back with Eugene Daily News for periodic updates about this new policy.