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Tobacco Free AU | March 27, 2013 Memo

Tobacco Free AU Communications


March 27, 2013


TO: Campus Community

FROM: Beth Muha, AVP of Human Resources, and Project Team Co-Chair

Rob Hradsky, AVP and Dean of Students, and Project Team Co-Chair

SUBJECT: Tobacco- and Smoke-Free Campus: Progress to Date and Next Steps

The tobacco- and smoke-free university project team consisting of students, staff, faculty, alumni, and neighbors continues its work toward launching a tobacco- and smoke-free AU campus in August 2013. Team members are developing an implementation plan focused on policy, operational guidance and enforcement, health and wellness, facilities and grounds, and communications.

This semester, the team conducted an assessment to estimate the percentage of students, faculty, staff, and contractors who smoke, and where they are most likely to smoke while on campus. Based on these findings, we estimate that the percentage of community members who utilize tobacco products is lower than the national average as reported in a 2012 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment.

For members of the campus community who utilize tobacco products, we understand and recognize that this transition may be difficult. Stopping an addictive habit immediately just can't be done. It is unrealistic to think you can quit in a few short hours, days, or months. It takes a lot of time, energy and the right amount of support. Our new Tobacco-Free AU website lists smoking cessation resources. AU will be offering smoking cessation programs and is working with the university’s health plan providers to provide additional resources.

Earlier this month, we shared several questions that the committee was considering in the adoption of a policy. We thank the members of our university community who provided feedback on our questions, and provided us with additional comments and suggestions.

After listening to feedback, and researching how other universities have implemented their policies, we’d like to provide an update on the policy’s proposed framework.

  • Does the policy apply to only smoking or to the use of any tobacco product?
  • Prohibits use of any and all tobacco products, whether inhaled or ingested.
  • Applies to all tobacco and smoking products, including Hookah.
  • Will there be designated smoking areas on campus?
  • Three temporary sites may be designated until the end of the fall 2013 semester.
  • Does the policy apply to all campus areas (e.g., owned property, leased facilities, parking lots, parking decks, construction areas), including use of tobacco products in private vehicles while these vehicles are on campus (e.g., in parking lots)?
  • Not prohibited from bringing onto campus, but the use, distribution, and sale on campus is prohibited.
  • Use of tobacco products is prohibited in cars on university property, including parking lots and garages.
  • Does the policy apply to the use of tobacco products in university vehicles when these vehicles are off campus?
  • Use in university vehicles when off campus is prohibited.
  • Who is responsible for informing students, faculty, staff, contract workers, and visitors of this policy?
  • All may approach a tobacco user or report use of tobacco through a reporting system.
  • The university will create an ambassador program to support compliance.
  • Who is responsible for initiating disciplinary measures for noncompliance? What will the disciplinary measures be?
  • Students, staff, and faculty are subject to respective discipline processes, ie: student code of conduct, Human Resources, and Dean of Academic Affairs.

To learn more about the proposed policy, effective date, enforcement and implementation, and smoking cessation programs, we invite you to a Town Hall discussion tonight, March 27, from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. in Letts Formal Lounge.

In the next couple of weeks, members of the committee will present the committee’s progress to various campus constituencies including University Council, Faculty Senate, Staff Council, Student Government, Residence Hall Association, Human Resources representatives and other campus groups. The presentation will also be available for review on the Tobacco-Free AU website after the Town Hall discussion.

As we prepare to deliver policy implementation recommendations in late April to President Kerwin for review, we continue to welcome your feedback on these elements, and encourage you to talk to the project team members. Comments may also be provided by email.

We look forward to working together in making AU a campus dedicated to the health and well-being of our community.