By Kelly Cantwell –
The University of Cincinnati’s decision on Aug. 23 to make the campus smoke free in May of 2017 will include not just the main campus in Cincinnati, but the branch campuses, including UC Clermont College, as well.
“As a university with a health system it’s very important that we take a look at what we’re doing to encourage healthy behavior,” said Greg Vehr, university spokesman. He added that UC wanted to take the impact of smoking on non-smokers on campus into consideration.
The resolution passed by the UC Board of Trustees states that the university has some smoking regulations in place, and that UC is dedicated to a healthy environment.
“The university recognizes that smoking any substance in any form poses a public health hazard,” the resolution states.
The university is not ahead of the game in making this move, Vehr said, as other universities have had similar policies in place for years now. UC’s medical campus does already have a smoking ban in place.
“It provides an opportunity to educate people about it and provide a smoking cessation opportunity for those who need it,” Vehr said.
At this point, there is a subcommittee of the Tobacco Free UC Task Force looking into smoking cessation education options, but Vehr is unsure if UC will be able to offer free classes or not.
Smoking cessation classes will also be offered at UC Clermont. The campus has been talking about going smoke free for awhile, even offering to be a pilot program before the board decided to make the entire university smoke free at once, said Mae Hanna, Assistant Dean Marketing and Communications for UC Clermont.
“I know we’ve had a lot of complaints from students,” said Hanna, specifically referring to students who felt the rule stating no one can smoke within 20 feet of a building entrance was not enough.
She does expect some resistance from smokers, but not from anyone else.
“I know that that will be welcome, obviously, by the non smokers,” Hanna said.
The ban will include “all tobacco-derived or tobacco-containing products including, but not limited to, cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, vaporizing devices, cigars and cigarillos, hookah smoked products, pipes, oral tobacco and nasal tobacco,” in addition to “any product intended to mimic tobacco products.”
UC will spend the next nine months educating students and staff, using signs, videos, social media and other online methods. The university will also discuss the ban during student and new staff orientation.
The ban will be enforced by educating visitors to campus, students and staff about the ban and by peer-to-peer pressure.
“It’s not something that we want to put our public safety personnel really in a position to do,” Vehr said.
He added that the university does not want to come down hard on people, even though some might push the envelope, but the university does want to be a healthy organization that keeps people healthy. He did say if visitors choose not to abide by the rule they will be asked to leave.
According to the policy approved by the trustees, violators may be subject to fines or, for students, sanctions pursuant to the student code or conduct, or staff, disciplinary action.