Campus considers going without tobacco

College when some smokers start the habit for life, but those who attend university, may soon have to take up the habit in another place.

Five University groups are discussing and developing their points of views on the possibility of the campus being tobacco-free. The idea of politics of tobacco on campus is due to the Ohio Board of Regents of the resolution adopted July 23 encouraging colleges and universities to become tobacco-free.

Board of Regents, which is located in Columbus, serves as the coordinating body for higher education at Ohio State and is responsible for advising the Chancellor and leader of the University System of Ohio, on the state of the value and impact on higher education, according to its website.

The five groups, including the Administrative Staff Council, Classified Staff Council, Faculty Senate, Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate Student Senate, we hopefully submit their decision to President Mary Ellen Mazey by Thanksgiving, said Jill Carr, senior associate vice president of Student Affairs and dean of students.

The decision to go tobacco-free or stay with the current policy may come down to culture. “I think you start to see the different movements of culture,” said USG president Alex Solis. Faith Yingling, director of Wellness, said Ohio culture shifted to tobacco and smoking policies, and that such initiatives are already on the national for a while now.

“As more states and location of the smoking-related policies, it seems natural that places such as colleges and universities will be engaged in these initiatives, as well,” said Yingling. Twenty-two percent of students at the University of Cigarette Use, according to the National College Health Association American College Health Assessment report data in fall 2010.

“Of course, it’s not tobacco, we would like to see,” said Yingling.

Departments at the University also did a survey of students. Eric Teske, staff assistant in the department of recreation and Wellness, surveyed 691 graduate and undergraduate students in various departments and majors.

43% believe the campus should be smoking and 21.1% smoke often harassed at the university, according to the survey, which was done in April.

Yingling and Teske plan survey of faculty and staff following.

“We want to make sure that we get an accurate picture of what students want and what teachers and staff wants”, Yingling said.

Positives without tobacco policy will include the protection of the air people breathe, reducing passive smoking and improving people’s long-term and short-term health, Yingling said.

Carr said the positive health-related issues are obvious, but the way students think about the possibility of a policy may not be so simple.

“I think we all know, health-related questions a person who decides to smoke,” said Carr. “The downside is that a smoker may feel that they are losing some of the personal rights on campus.”

There is an emphasis on the health and well-being of the university, Mazey said.

“Having a no smoking policy does support that the health and well-being of our town center”, Mazey said.

Yingling said that if politicians were to go to a place, the university will offer programs to help people quit smoking.

“We are working hand in hand with the center of counseling and student health services to make it happen,” she said. “Of course, we want to provide these resources for those who want to quit smoking.”

There are usually a fair amount of smokers who are already trying to quit smoking, and since it is a long process, Teske said he hopes that policy would be useful.

“Hopefully this will be an additional motivation for them to support university, I hope they will be able to get some help,” he said.

There is now an alcohol and other drug use at the university, with which students can meet for free to discuss addiction, Teske said.

Mazey said she hopes the decision to be tobacco-free or stay with the current policy will be made in this academic year.

USG recently had a meeting about the possibility of a tobacco-free campus; Solis said there were different opinions.

“I think it will be a hard process, if the university wants to go with this initiative,” said Solis.

Once the constituent group have presented their solutions, depending on the decision of the committee will be formed to develop a policy, said Carr. Carr will chair the committee, which will include two members from each subject group, she said.

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