RENO, NV - The University of Nevada, Reno announced Monday, March 31, its plans to implement a Tobacco-Free University policy effective Aug. 1, 2015. This action has been endorsed through resolutions of support by the Faculty Senate, Staff Employees Council, Graduate Student Association and Associated Students of the University of Nevada. The University will join nearly 1,200 other U.S. colleges and universities that have implemented a tobacco-free policy.
“Throughout the past several years, the university has made important progress in linking the ‘mind, body and spirit’ of our students by developing programming and physical infrastructure that emphasizes health and well-being,” University President Marc Johnson said. “Our commitment to improve the health of our community, campus, students, faculty and staff is the impetus behind the initiative to create a tobacco-free environment.”
In a joint letter sent to students, faculty and staff, representatives of the campus organizations offered more reasoning behind their endorsement for the Tobacco-Free University policy:
“We feel it is imperative that our university environment reflect the health-based principles of a modern land-grant institution that is home to the state’s medical school as well as a nationally recognized research portfolio that includes efforts in medical, behavioral and social research aimed at improving the lives and health throughout our community, our state and the world. The health risks associated with tobacco use and secondhand smoke are well-known. Adopting a Tobacco-Free University policy is a significant way to improve health and demonstrate values that are in line with the research and academic mission of this university.”
Plans call for the Tobacco-Free University policy to pertain to University campuses and locations and to be implemented within the parameters of applicable laws. The University recognizes successful implementation of the policy will require planning, collaboration, empathy and understanding. Between March 2014 and August 2015, representatives from the University will work on implementation including discussing and developing policy, signage, cessation resources and education. An implementation team has been established and will adopt a three-step approach throughout the next year:
• Tell – Educate students, prospective students, faculty, staff, visitors and community members about the policy through a variety of communication tools. Provide opportunities for input from the University community;
• Treat – Build and market cessation resources including classes, hotlines, nicotine-replacement therapy and quit kits;
• Train – Provide training to supervisors, faculty, administrators and student leaders on the policy and how to encourage compliance.
According to a National College Health Assessment survey conducted every two years, University students consistently report low tobacco-use rates. More than 85 percent of the students at the University are already smoke and tobacco free. For students, faculty and staff who do use tobacco products and want to quit, the University pledges to offer support.
“The vast majority of adult smokers in Nevada were hooked before their 21st birthday,” John Packham, University of Nevada School of Medicine director of health policy research, said. “Thus, the campus-wide policy eliminates one more setting frequented by teenagers and young adults where cigarette smoking is treated as normal, acceptable behavior.”