tocacco plant Native American Tobaccoo flower, leaves, and buds

tocacco Tobacco is an annual or bi-annual growing 1-3 meters tall with large sticky leaves that contain nicotine. Native to the Americas, tobacco has a long history of use as a shamanic inebriant and stimulant. It is extremely popular and well-known for its addictive potential.

tocacco nicotina Nicotiana tabacum

tocacco Nicotiana rustica leaves

Administration announces campus tobacco ban in 2010

Chancellor Mark Wrighton announced on Monday through the Office of Public Affairs that all campuses of Washington University will be tobacco-free by July 2010, including all University-owned and managed properties.

Currently, the University lets students, faculty and staff to smoke outdoors—a rule that will change once the new policy is implemented.

The School of Medicine implemented a tobacco ban on its campus in 2007.

According to Alan Glass, director of Student Health Services (SHS), the decision for the rest of the University came from the upper administration following discussions that have lasted more than a year.

The steering committee for the initiative is headed by Ann Prenatt, vice chancellor for human resources; Lorraine Goffe-Rush, director of human resources; Fred Volkmann, vice chancellor for public affairs; and Glass himself.

The administration has appointed three subcommittees to work individually with faculty, staff and graduate and undergraduate students in preparing for, laying out the details of and implementing the policy.

The subcommittee for faculty and staff is headed by Glass and Brad Freeman, associate professor of surgery; the graduate and professional students committee by Sheri Notaro, associate dean in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; and the undergraduate students committee by Jill Carnaghi, associate vice chancellor for students and dean of campus life.

According to Glass, details of the policy’s actual implementation and enforcement are still in the works.

“The implementation is quite complex. Issues like the services that are going to be provided for different groups in terms of quitting tobacco use are potentially different for each of those constituents,” he said.

Although he has no statistics for faculty and staff, Glass said that as of the spring of 2007, 11 percent of University students smoke regularly, versus a nationwide campus average of 17 percent.

The statistics are derived from the National College Health Assessment, an assessment the University participates in every other year to measure health behaviors among students on issues like dieting, STIs and tobacco, alcohol and drug use.

“In a way, being below [the nationwide average] is a good starting point,” Glass said.

According to Glass, the benefits of a healthier and safer environment at the University make up the main driving force behind the initiative.

“The overriding agenda is a community health effort, underlining the community piece,” he said. “The specifics are yet to be finalized, but there is no way this is going to be successful without the community piece.”

Glass emphasized the dangers of secondhand smoke, including increased risk for cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Although the risk from secondary outdoor smoke is more widely debated, studies have shown that risks do indeed exist.

To help smokers in the University community quit, the administration will offer free smoking-cessation programs through SHS for students and through human resources for faculty and staff.

“Tobacco use is an addictive behavior. You have these individuals who have an addiction who are going to need to deal with this in terms of stopping their tobacco use,” Glass said.

SHS already offers individual smoking-cessation counseling to students.

“If we get enough people, it will be a group setting. We’ll be ramping [the individual counseling program] up before the implementation begins,” he said.

Pharmaceutical medication also will be available to faculty and staff for $15 and will be offered to students at no cost.

Although the University is not the first college in the nation to ban smoking, its extensive policy and strategy is still considered to be in the vanguard.

“We’re pretty much of a pioneer,” Glass said. “A lot of schools are considering this, but the full implementation that we have planned is ahead of the curve.”

“I liked the ban idea, but then I was like, ‘Smoking is a stress reliever.’ Wash. U. is extremely hardcore, so if [smoking] is what they need, then that’s what they need,” said sophomore Erica Cole, a non-smoker. “To completely ban [it], I don’t think that’s OK.”

“People’s rights are going to be infringed on. If they had designated areas on campus where you can smoke, that’s better than cutting it off altogether,” said junior Candice Combs, a non-smoker.

Source: Studlife

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