Salem State to create tobacco-free campus
Based on the recommendation of a campus-based committee, Salem State University today announced that on September 1, 2011, it will join over 260 colleges and universities nationwide that have implemented a tobacco free environment for their respective campuses.
The committee, convened by university president Patricia Maguire Meservey, conducted a survey of students, faculty, and staff to assess attitudes and opinions of the community about the potential of a tobacco free environment. Over 1,200 responses indicated that the majority of community members support a tobacco free campus. While the primary focus was on the impact of tobacco smoke, the committee recommended that chewing and smokeless tobacco products should also be included in this initiative.
One major concern revealed by the campus survey is that 25 percent of the respondents have respiratory health conditions. On the survey, 76 percent of the respondents said they are exposed to secondhand smoke at least once a month, with over 27 percent exposed several times a day on campus. Fifty-nine percent of all respondents indicated their experience on campus was negatively impacted by secondhand smoke.
“The university has an opportunity to dramatically impact the health and welfare of the members of our community and guests by making a change in the currently accepted campus smoking practices,” stated executive vice president Stanley F. Cahill, in a letter to the community. Cahill also outlined a series of programs and assistance that will be offered during the academic year to help the campus community prepare for this new regulation. Included are smoking cessation programs offered to both students and employees, student access to tobacco cessation products and prescriptions and an informational campaign to inform the community about the deleterious effects of smoking, secondhand smoke and the use of other tobacco products.
Salem State University is the first public university in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to implement a program that will result in a tobacco free campus environment. The informational campaign is scheduled to begin this fall.