Toward a tobacco-free campus

75 percent of Oilers support a smokeless campus

By Jordyn Willis

In a survey sent out to the University of Findlay campus community on April 4, 75 percent of 742 respondents supported a policy change that would make UF’s campus tobacco-free, according to Dave Emsweller, vice president of student affairs.

The survey was three questions long and asked students about their thoughts on the current tobacco policy.

According to Emsweller, the smoking and tobacco policy states that “tobacco use (smoking or chewing), and use of vaping devices, hookahs, and e-cigarettes is not permitted in campus buildings including campus living units.”

However, tobacco is still allowed outside of campus buildings and campus living units.

This policy could potentially be changed to make the University a smoke and tobacco-free campus indoors and outdoors.

“Over the past few years, a number of students and some student organizations have indicated they would prefer UF be a smoke/tobacco free campus,” said Emsweller. “Additionally, a number of other colleges have moved that direction in recent years in order to support a healthy campus environment.”

Several other colleges and universities in the area have moved to a tobacco and smoke-free campus. Some of these universities include Bowling Green State University, the University of Toledo, and Ohio Northern University.

According to Bowling Green State University’s website, “Smoking is prohibited in all facilities owned or leased by Bowling Green State University and on the grounds of any property owned or leased by the University.”

There are several concerns raised by those interested in changing the policy, according to Emsweller, but one of the biggest concerns is health. Specifically, second hand smoke.

Emsweller explained that “given the health focus many of UF’s majors have, it seems reasonable that there should be a goal to foster a healthier environment on campus.”

Cecelia Gebien, pre-med club president and senior pre-vet major, agreed with Emsweller and said that it’s encouraging to see the University consider a healthier campus lifestyle.

“It’s no secret that smoking is a health hazard, and with so many medical-based majors here I completely understand why the University would be considering a policy change,” said Gebien.

Emsweller hoped that students would be motivated to take the smoking and tobacco policy survey and was pleased to have 742 survey completions. He said participation was strong.

If a policy change is to take place on campus, the earliest that this change could take effect would be at the start of the 2016 fall semester.

Emsweller wants the UF community to understand that involvement is vital in any policy change.

“As we consider changing our current policy, I believe it is important we continue gathering feedback and reviewing model policies at other institutions,” said Emsweller.

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