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Most support non-smoking campus

Smoking Student

Students, faculty and staff at Oregon State University have largely embraced a new policy that prohibits smoking on the Corvallis campus, but the policy change hasn’t completely eliminated secondhand smoke exposure, new research out Monday shows.

A campus-wide study of the first year of the university’s smoke-free policy showed that 72 percent of students and 77 percent of faculty were in support of the new policy, which took effect in September 2012.

That number is expected to rise as people become accustomed to the policy, said Marc Braverman, a professor and Extension specialist in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and the study’s lead author.

“The more people live with the change, the more supportive they tend to become,” Braverman said. “We’re not trying to force smokers to quit. We’re trying to address the health concerns brought on by secondhand smoke. This is a clean air policy.”

However, about 77 percent of students and 55 percent of faculty and staff who responded to a survey on the policy reported that they had encountered secondhand smoke near the periphery of the campus within the previous two weeks.

In addition, 29 percent of students and 18 percent of faculty and staff said they had been exposed to secondhand smoke near a building entrance on campus in that same time period. To be noted that on the campus area cigarettes are not sold. On the question can you buy cigarettes online, students say Yes.

The shift of smoking to campus boundaries is to be expected if people are following the policy, and other universities have experienced the same problem, Braverman said.

One of the next steps is figuring out how to reduce the impact of that shift, both in terms of secondhand smoke exposure and other issues, including an increase in cigarette butts and other trash in common smoking locations just off campus.

Findings from the study were published in the February issue of the journal, “Preventive Medicine.” Co-authors are Lisa Hoogesteger, director of OSU’s Healthy Campus Initiatives, and Jessica Johnson, who was a graduate student in public health when the research was conducted. The study was supported by OSU and a grant from PacificSource Health Plans.

Researchers wanted to evaluate the policy implementation because more and more colleges and universities are adopting smoke-free or tobacco-free campus policies, Braverman said.

When the idea was initially proposed at OSU in 2008, only 130 campuses nationwide were smoke-free or tobacco-free. As of last month, that number has jumped to 1,500 campuses, according to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, an advocacy group that tracks tobacco policies nationwide.

“It’s gotten to be quite a popular movement, but there is not a lot of information about the best ways to implement a policy like this or what a campus should expect when it does,” Braverman said.

In the spring of 2013, after almost a full academic year with the policy in place, the researchers invited all students, staff and faculty at OSU’s Corvallis campus to take a Web-based survey. More than 5,600 students and 2,000 faculty and staff members responded.

The research team found that there was widespread awareness of the policy change: 89 percent of nonsmoking students and 90 percent of smoking students knew OSU was a nonsmoking campus, while 92 percent of nonsmoking faculty and staff and 99 percent of smoking faculty and staff knew about the policy.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Tobacco News

 

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How Many Students in Australia Use Tobacco Products

The university system does not have data on how many of its students smoke or use tobacco products.

About 70 per cent of college students nationwide reported that they had never smoked in the past three years of surveys conducted by the American College Health Association. In the most recent survey completed this spring, almost 14 per cent of students reported smoking cigarettes within the previous 30 days.

Hopkins already has support for his proposal from incoming Regents chairman Philip Wilheit. Wilheit, president of a packaging products company headquartered in Gainesville, implemented a tobacco ban at his office three years ago. It was a smart financial decision, he said.

“I think it is the wave of the future,” he said. “I think as regents we have a responsibility to our students to do what’s best for them and their health.”

Various schools within the university system already have some sort of smoking or tobacco ban. Some schools outlaw all tobacco products, and others allow students to smoke in designated areas that are specified distances from common areas.

Wilheit is unsure how the ban would be implemented at outdoor athletic facilities. Some facilities already have tobacco policies in place. All areas of the University of Georgia’s Sanford Stadium are tobacco-free, and smoking also is prohibited in Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium.

But one thing Wilheit isn’t for: designated smoking areas. “I think that is like being a little bit pregnant,” he said. And what about those students, like Bass, who say they’re adults and ought to be able to do what they want? “They can do what they want, but they can’t do it on our campuses,” Hopkins said.

Outside the university system, higher education institutions vary on their tobacco policies. Emory implemented a full tobacco ban last year, while Clark Atlanta University allows smoking in some designated outdoor areas.

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2013 in Tobacco News

 

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