Students and faculty of Eastern Oregon University will breathe a little easier come September 13, 2013. Per Governor Kitzhaber’s executive order, Eastern will implement a smoke and tobacco-free policy next fall.
The new policy will prohibit the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, and any other tobacco product, including “e-cigarettes” and betel nut on university owned property. Currently, students, employees and visitors can smoke on campus, but must be 10 feet away from any buildings.
When Oregon State University converted to a smoke free campus in September of this year, an unexpected issue occurred. While smokers did follow the no smoking policy and went off campus to smoke—usually across the street—they left garbage behind after they were finished. OSU solved that problem by placing receptacles at various locations around the campus for smokers to throw their butts in.
Vice President of Admissions and Advancement, Tim Seydel said, “Hopefully our people are good and police their own trash—they can walk their butts back to campus.”
Enforcement of the new policy will include verbal warnings for a first offense and referral to the Code of Conduct for repeat offenses. “The main emphasis of this policy is not to be punitive, but educational,” President Bob Davies said. He also said the policy is still under review and could go through more changes.
The Student Health Center offers counseling services and prescription medications to students seeking assistance to quit smoking. Other sources of assistance include the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line, My Last Dip, and the County Health Department.
The policy also proposes to assist employees who wish to quit smoking. As part of their standard medical benefits, campus employees can enroll in stop-smoking programs and obtain prescription medication.
The current policy task force is still trying to find funding to provide limited amounts of tobacco cessation products free of charge for students. The members of the task force are Wellness Coordinator, Kylie Lanman; Nurse Practitioner, Carrie Lane; and nursing students Kara Lehman and Cody Crow. Many other faculty and staff members have assisted the task force with their research as well.