Tobacco-Free Forums Open to Public Discussion

The university neighborhood and members of the community are encouraged to attend at least one of the tobacco-free forums held by Chancellor Bernie Patterson.

There will be three forums, two of which will be held on Oct. 31 in the DUC Alumni Room from 8 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 5 p.m. The third forum will be held on Nov. 1 in room 116 of the College of Professional Studies building from 1 to 2 p.m.

Last year, students voted on a referendum that was passed by the Student Government Association in favor of a tobacco-free campus. Faculty and staff were also surveyed and showed a majority opinion in support of the referendum.

These forums are being held for the benefit of students and community members. They will be able to voice their opinions about the topic.

Sallie Scovill, associate professor of health promotion and human development and the employee wellness coordinator, said the forums are a last chance for individuals to express their feelings about having a tobacco-free campus.

“The Chancellor wants to give campus constituents a chance to voice their opinions and feelings as he plans to make a final decision by the end of the semester,” Scovill said.

Individuals are encouraged to speak up about the subject of a tobacco-free campus to help aid the chancellor in deciding how to move forward with the SGA binding referendum and survey results.

“This is a health issue for everyone, whether you are a tobacco user or not. I hope the forums are well attended,” said Mike Zsido, chair of the Environmental Health and Safety Committee.

“We are concerned for the health of the students because tobacco causes 5 million deaths per year; cigarettes cause one in five deaths annually. Our goal is for the campus to go tobacco- free and have the number of tobacco users decrease,” Zsido said.

If the tobacco-free movement moves forward an implementation committee will be formed and the policy will be set in stone in August of 2014.

“There has been an overwhelming support from faculty, staff and students in the surveys and the SGA binding referendum that as a wellness campus, and as a campus that supports healthy communities, we need to start walking our talk and go with the will of the majority on campus,” Scovill said.

Many hope for the referendum to pass and for the campus to go tobacco-free. Help will be provided for those planning to quit.

“As the employee wellness coordinator, my office is prepared to offer resources to all our faculty and staff who need assistance with tobacco cessation,” Scovill said.

Health Services and health advocates are resources on campus that have information and programs dedicated to students who want to quit.​

Cassie Scott

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