A student-led initiative at the University of Utah has prompted school officials to adopt a tobacco free policy on campus.
The idea for a tobacco free campus has been discussed since 2010 but Robin Marcus, university chief wellness officer, says it wasn’t until this past year that a very dedicated student and faculty group came together to institute a solid policy.
“Having smoke in some of the outdoor areas has become less acceptable and I think students were noticing that they had to walk through some smokey areas that affected their health," says Marcus.
So, they decided to do something about it. Marcus says that even students who smoke have voiced approval of the new policy.
“They told us that it would actually help them try to quit if it was more difficult to have a cigarette on campus," says Marcus.
But this new distinction doesn’t only affect students, all university owned buildings are included. This means medical centers, athletic facilities and all other school-based organizations will need to adhere to the policy.
"The way the rule is written it will affect all property that is owned or leased by the university, so it actually extends off campus too to some of our healthcare facilities," Marcus says.
Along with cigarettes, use of chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and any other nicotine-delivery products will result in a fine, but not right away. The university is taking a year to roll out the policy and it won’t go into full effect until next summer.
In the meantime, those on campus will start to see tobacco free signs go up and likely the amount of smoke go down.