UA adopts policy to ban the use of tobacco products on campus
After years of discussion, the UA has announced that it will adopt a policy to ban the use of tobacco products on all UA property and campuses beginning August 15.
The current version of the policy proposal prohibits the use of tobacco, tobacco-related and nicotine-containing products like e-cigarettes at the UA. The policy is an attempt to improve the health of those working and studying on campus. The policy is also meant to keep the campus clean of the litter that is typically associated with the use of tobacco products like cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco.
Compliance with the policy will be encouraged by personal responsibility. UA students and faculty are encouraged to inform anyone they see using tobacco products on campus of the policy. Visitors on campus who are not in compliance with the policy may be required to leave. Students who are out of compliance will be referred to their college’s student representatives for educational resources. Employees and volunteers will be referred to their supervisors for appropriate action.
“The success of this Policy depends on the entire campus community and its members being willing to hold one another accountable. Whenever possible, concerns about tobacco and nicotine use should be respectfully addressed at the time such concerns arise,” the policy states.
A newly adopted UA policy will prohibit the use of tobacco products on the main UA campus beginning on August 25. The current policy proposal disallows the use of any tobacco or nicotine-containing products, including e-cigarettes.
Issac Ortega, president of Associated Students of the University of Arizona, said ASUA has been involved with the tobacco-free policy throughout the process. Last year, ASUA voted against the policy, but has been working with the Student Health Advocacy Committee since, and found most UA students are in support of the policy, Ortega said. He said he endorses the tobacco-ban personally and as the ASUA president.
Ortega has asthma and said that family members choosing to smoke around him growing up affected his health.
Stephanie Kha, director of the SHAC, said that SHAC helped support the 2012 tobacco-ban on the Arizona Health Sciences Center campus. SHAC has been researching and advocating a tobacco-free main campus since 2012 as well, Kha said.
“This policy aims to benefit the health of all of the members of our campus community and places the UA in a leadership position for the city of Tucson to look up to as well,” Kha said.
SHAC conducted surveys amongst students and faculty at the UA and held meetings to discuss the strengths and challenges of a tobacco-free campus. Kha said SHAC also raised awareness of the litter associated with the use of tobacco products by hosting two cigarette butt cleanup competitions. During one competition, 60 student volunteers collected 25,000 cigarette butts from around the UA campus in 45 minutes.
Allison Vaillancourt, vice president of institutional effectiveness and human resources, said that a robust student effort to develop the policy began last summer, and the proposal was created early in the spring. She said student feedback was collected throughout the spring, and then the policy was opened to feedback from members of the community.
Vaillancourt said that the UA has received positive feedback from individuals, stating that they are excited to be on a smoke-free campus. She has also received some negative feedback from people questioning why e-cigarettes are included in the policy and suggesting designated smoking areas.
The UA has been in contact with numerous institutions across the country with similar policies, Vaillancourt said. These institutions said that once the policies were implemented, it took a while for people to get used to them. When the AHSC went smoke-free, employees adjusted and Vaillancourt said she is sure that UA employees will adjust as well.
“We are trying to be a healthy campus,” she said. “There are many people on our campus who want to be able to breathe freely without cigarette smoke.”