Troy campus begins semester tobacco-free

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

Written by Whitley Kilcrease

Thousands of students will gather on Troy University for fall semester classes this month.

And while there will be the typical scrap for parking spaces and long-established grumbles about the long walk to class, there will be a noticeable change in the atmosphere around campus – it’s tobacco-free.

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The Troy University Board of Trustees approved a resolution July 22, 2011 designating Troy as a tobacco-free institution to be put into effect on August 13, 2012.

Shane Tatum, chairman of the Health and Wellness committee at the university, said the time gap between the resolution approval and the implementation date was to give Troy the opportunity to create a policy that would be fair to everyone on campus and establish outreach programs for those wishing to give up their tobacco habits.

Tatum said the policy is intended to encourage faculty, students and staff to make healthy decisions and “create a campus of wellness.”

Kathryn Glover, a senior accounting major from Dothan, said she thinks the policy isn’t fair and doesn’t take into consideration on-campus residents or faculty tobacco consumers who will have a more difficult time complying with the policy.

“I don’t smoke or use tobacco, but I don’t think it’s right to completely ban it across campus,” Glover said.

“I think smoking is harmful, but people are going to do it and I can’t see how anyone can tell them not to.”

According to the 2012-2013 Oracle (student handbook) “authority for enforcement [of the policy]…is vested in the Deans of Colleges, department chairs, supervisors or the Dean of Students and athletic director…in conjunction with the Senior Director of Human Resources.”

“Everyone is responsible for enforcing the policy,” Tatum said.

“We want to educate individuals about the policy and the benefits of quitting and help them create a healthy lifestyle.”

The Oracle states that violation of the policy could result in corrective action under the student code of conduct, human resources policies and procedures or other applicable university regulations or policies. Visitors refusing to comply may be asked to leave campus.

“We’re not going to have tobacco police patrolling around campus,” Tatum said. “This will be treated just like any other policy in the Oracle or the Faculty/Staff Handbook.”

According to Tatum, there are more than 600 college campuses in the U.S. that enforce smoke-free policies while 300 of those campuses are tobacco-free.

Troy is the second college in the state to implement a tobacco-free policy. Wallace Community College currently enforces a similar tobacco-free policy while the University of Alabama, Auburn University and Alabama State University are considering smoke-free policies.

According to the university’s support website, the policy will encompass the Troy University campuses, as well as all properties owned, operated, leased or controlled by the university, and affects all “members of the university community,” consisting of faculty, staff, students, volunteers, vendors, contractors, customers and visitors.

The policy bans the use of all tobacco products, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes or hookahs, electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products, within prohibited areas. It defines smoking as inhaling, exhaling, burning or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette or pipe.

The tobacco-free policy is part of an ongoing effort by the Health and Wellness committee at Troy known as “Trojan Fit.” Other objectives for the fall semester include healthy vending options and stress management sessions during testing.

Tatum said Troy is in the process of setting up support sessions on all affiliated campuses for faculty, students or staff seeking assistance with their tobacco addiction.

“The overall initiative of the committee and Trojan Fit is to create activities and programs to create a healthy environment for everyone on our campuses.”

According to Tatum, the Alabama Department of Public Health offers a free support program called “Quit Now,” which includes online counseling services “for any Alabamian who is ready to quit tobacco.”

The Alabama Tobacco Quitline, sponsored by ADPH, offers free information to anyone interested in quitting tobacco use, free master’s level counseling, a personalized quit plan and two weeks of free nicotine patches for those enrolled in support services.

The 2012-2013 Oracle and tobacco-free policy can be viewed on the university’s website. For more information, contact Shane Tatum or visit