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Trustees adopt tobacco ban

Troy University’s Board of Trustees recently adopted a policy that seeks to ban the use of all tobacco products on campus.

John Dew, senior vice chancellor of student services, said the idea to ban tobacco on all university campuses “comes from several different directions” and is part of a much larger initiative to increase health and wellness for all Troy University students on all campuses.

“One reason for the ban is, in terms of a larger initiative that we’re working on with health and wellness for the campus, there have been expressions of concern that we’ve had from people on the campus about smoking and tobacco use,” Dew said. “At the same time, we look at other major universities in the country and there are quite a few that have worked in this direction for the last several years.”

Dew said university authorities are looking “very carefully” at some of the actions of other universities—Oklahoma State University and the University of Kentucky—in how to successfully implement the campus-wide tobacco ban.

“We are also aware of similar actions that have been taken at some of the community colleges within the region as well,” Dew said.

“We see movement in this area nationally among universities and within the state and certainly we see interest within our own community and our campuses. It’s kind of coming from multiple directions.”

The tobacco ban will prohibit the use of tobacco in all its forms, which Dew said would help students to live a healthier life.

“If we want to have an environment in which we are promoting health and wellness for faculty, students and staff, then even smokeless tobacco needs to be included in the mix,” Dew said.

Anyone that has quit smoking or using chewing tobacco understands the struggle that people who are trying to quit go through.

Dew said the authorities behind the ban recognize the difficulty many people may have with abstaining from tobacco use while on campus or with trying to quit “cold turkey.”

“We realize people may have some difficulty, but the policy itself does not take effect until August 2012,” Dew said.

“That gives us time, first of all, to be able to encourage students, faculty and staff who do smoke to be able to address their smoking issues. It will also enable us to adjust all of our promotional materials for prospective students for the fall of 2012 so that they will know that we are a tobacco-free campus. We don’t want anyone to be caught by surprise, so we’re giving plenty of time for people to make adjustments.”

Dew said there will be a significant amount of collaboration with health organizations to promote smoke secession programs, which he says will be an “important part” of the march toward a tobacco-free campus.

“We’re forming a new expanded health and wellness committee that will have representation from students, faculty and staff,” Dew said.

“That committee will be looking at the overall implementation of the policy and we’ll be having a lot of conversations about what people consider to be reasonable approaches to enforcement.”

Dew said at this point nothing has been “locked into place” regarding the implementation of the tobacco ban and that they are still gathering information from different areas as to the best ways to implement the ban.

“We’re going to take a look at what other institutions are doing and we are going to listen very carefully to all of our constituents on all of our campuses in Alabama and our teaching locations outside of Alabama,” Dew said