WSU Vancouver will be a smoke- and tobacco-free campus beginning next fall
VANCOUVER, Wash. – Washington State University Vancouver Chancellor Mel Netzhammer announced today that the campus will become tobacco-free effective August 1.
Students, faculty and staff have been discussing the smoking issue since the beginning of fall semester when it was raised by students. The Associated Students of Washington State University Vancouver conducted a survey in which more than 1,000 students participated. WSU Vancouver’s Office of Human Resources conducted a similar survey among faculty and staff. Faculty, staff and students were invited to participate in a Campus Conversation on the subject with Netzhammer in December. Additional data were collected and reviewed before Netzhammer’s Cabinet made a decision.
Surveys responses made it clear that a significant majority of students, faculty and staff support moving to a tobacco-free campus. Among supporters, the health risks associated with second-hand smoke and the role of the university in promoting health were strong factors in favoring a tobacco-free campus.
WSU Vancouver joins fellow urban campus WSU Spokane and other colleges in the region including Clark College, Oregon State University and University of Oregon in becoming a smoke- and/or tobacco-free campus. There are more than 1,000 such campuses nationwide.
While the issue of designated smoking areas was raised, it’s an impractical solution for WSU Vancouver. The Pacific Northwest’s climate would necessitate a covered area, and the campus’s size would likely require more than one shelter. They would be expensive to build and maintain, and research suggests that they are ultimately abandoned. Designated smoking areas wouldn’t fully address second-hand smoke risks, and they don’t promote the goal of a healthier campus.
WSU Vancouver’s tobacco-free practices will be modeled after WSU Spokane’s policy (http://spokane.wsu.edu/services/Facilities/Tobacco-Free-Campus/policy.html). This means all forms of tobacco and any nicotine-delivery devices that have not been approved for smoking-cessation purposes will be banned.
Implementation issues including opportunities for smoking-cessation support will be addressed in the coming months.
“Beginning in August, WSU Vancouver will be among the ranks of colleges and universities that are national leaders in healthcare and environmental practices,” said Netzhammer. “It is my hope that our students, staff and visitors will be well informed about our policy and enjoy the health benefits of being on a tobacco-free campus.”
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Brenda Alling, Office of Marketing and Communications, 360-546-9601, firstname.lastname@example.org