Wright State University is now a tobacco-free campus, joining over 1,400 other colleges and universities in the U.S. that have chosen to become tobacco free.
The new tobacco-free policy, which took effect July 1, will help promote a healthy environment in which students, staff, faculty and others can learn, work, live and visit.
The health hazards related to using tobacco are well documented. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Quitting tobacco is one of the most important things you can do for your health,” said Doug Newton, Wright State’s Wellness Program director. “One of the guiding principles of Wright State’s person-centered approach is to promote behaviors that support a healthy workforce and student body.”
In July 2012, the Ohio Board of Regents (presently known as the Ohio Department of Higher Education), recommended that all Ohio public universities become tobacco free.
Wright State began investigating this initiative five years ago with a task force comprised of faculty, staff and students, as well as Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County. After careful review, many surveys and campus discussions, the decision was made to become a tobacco-free campus.
“As a community partner, Public Health has been conducting cessation and is providing 46 large campus street signs that welcome everyone to Wright State’s tobacco-free campus,” said Bruce Barcelo, Healthy Lifestyle Supervisor at Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.
All smoking and smokeless tobacco products, as well as e-cigarettes, are now prohibited in all university facilities, on university-owned or leased grounds, and in university residence halls and apartments. However, nicotine-replacement gum, lozenges and patches, as well as other cessation products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are permitted.
The tobacco-free policy applies to anyone on campus including students, faculty, staff, visitors, consultants, vendors, patients, volunteers, and contractor employees.
Wright State is committed to assisting smokers and tobacco users who want to quit using tobacco products. The university is partnering with Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County and WCORHA WELLScript to continue to offer free tobacco cessation classes for faculty, staff and students at the Dayton and Lake campuses.
Newton said many employees and students successfully completed the program during the offerings of cessation classes earlier this year. The next round of classes will begin in the fall.
“Tobacco use continues to have a devastating impact on our community,” said Barcelo, a Wright State graduate who has been involved with the university’s tobacco policy initiative from the very beginning.
“The encouraging, hopeful news is that smoke-free policies like the one Wright State University has implemented are shown to impact a smoker’s willingness to quit,” he added.
Visit wright.edu/tobaccofree for information about the tobacco-free initiative and additional tobacco cessation resources.