Why have a “smoke-free/tobacco-free” campus environment?
Secondhand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke, is a Class A carcinogen. Its detrimental effects on health are well established and include triggering asthma attacks, causing lung cancer, and causing cardiovascular and other lung diseases. Attempts to eradicate exposure to secondhand smoke through limiting smoking to enclosed spaces or outside entrance areas and sidewalks is ineffective because smoke can easily travel through open doors, through heating and air circulation vents, people must walk on sidewalks through the smoke of others, and smoke easily travels outside any established boundaries or designated areas. Additionally, chewing tobacco and snuff are associated with oral cancers. (Note: CDC Source for Health Effects of Tobacco)
Why should the University of New England Community be concerned about smoking?
UNE has a responsibility to its students and employees to provide a healthful environment. Research findings show that tobacco use in general, including smoking and breathing secondhand smoke, constitute a significant health hazard. In addition to causing direct health hazards, smoking contributes to college costs in other ways, including potential fire damage, cleaning and maintenance costs, and costs associated with absenteeism, health care, and medical insurance. For several years, UNE has provided a Wellness Program for its employees and students. Providing a smoke-free/tobacco-free campus is another example of UNE’s commitment to student, visitor, and employee wellness. (Note: Source for Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke)
What role does UNE in addressing this public health concern?
The administration has a responsibility to provide a healthy environment for every one of its students and employees. By eliminating smoking on campus, all students, faculty, and staff will be protected from secondhand smoke, a known 200 carcinogen. A smoking ban does not take away individuals’ rights to smoke, rather it eliminates smokers’ risks of harming others. UNE is invested, not only in academic achievement, but also in developing life skills that will promote individual and civic wellness. Colleges and universities prepare students to cope with the reality of living situations. One emerging reality is that fewer and fewer spaces permit smoking and tobacco use. In growing numbers, work sites, restaurants, public buildings, shopping malls, healthcare and transportation facilities are 100% smoke-free. There are some employers that will not hire smokers. (Note: Source for Health Effects of Tobacco)
Why is UNE taking away my right to smoke or use tobacco?
UNE is not taking away your right to smoke or use tobacco. UNE is not requiring you to quit smoking or using tobacco. You may continue with your choice to smoke or use tobacco but not on UNE property. With this policy, UNE has the opportunity to effectively educate and promote our campus community’s commitment to a healthier lifestyle.
What does “FDA approved nicotine replacement therapy product” mean?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a variety of smoking cessation products. These include prescription medicines as well as over-the-counter (OTC) products such as skin patches, lozenges, and gum. Smoking cessation products are regulated through FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which ensures that the products are effective and that their benefits outweigh any known associated risks.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three (3) forms of OTC tobacco cessation nicotine replacement therapy:
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two (2) forms of OTC tobacco cessation nicotine replacement therapy:
- Chantix (varenicline tartrate)
- Zyban (buproprion)
Both are available in tablet form on a prescription-only basis.
For more information approved nicotine replacement products, visit the FDA website.
Will there be cessation programs available for students, faculty and staff?
Yes. A study completed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Management of Nicotine Addiction notes that 70% of current smokers want to quit smoking. With that in mind, UNE is committed to providing assistance to all students, faculty and staff who want to quit using tobacco. Cessation information and programs will be listed on the UNE website and UNE will co-sponsor programs with campus groups. The Student Health Services has professionals trained as smoking cessation specialists available for students. Through the Office of Human Resources, information and programs are available for those in need of assistance.
What will happen if a person or group is discovered smoking?
The process of achieving a smoke-free/tobacco-free environment takes time and patience. UNE believes that self-enforcing will become part of the norm and behavior will be similar to seat belt laws. Students, faculty, staff, contractors, and visitors will come to recognize the value of this policy and will choose to comply with the policy. UNE encourages all individuals, both smokers and non-smokers alike, to work together cooperatively in the implementation of the Board of Trustees policy.
The success of UNE’s smoke-free/tobacco-free environment policy relies on the consideration and cooperation of smokers and non-smokers, so please pitch in and help keep our University sites remain beautiful, clean and healthy for everyone.