KEARNEY – On Aug. 1, University of Nebraska at Kearney will take a community step to being healthier with implementation of a new tobacco policy.
Existing policy prohibits tobacco use in UNK facilities or vehicles, and within 10 feet of entrances or work sites on the grounds. The new policy expands “tobacco free” areas to all campus grounds, with the exception of locations in parking lots.
A tobacco-free coalition under UNK’s Peer Health Education group in 2012 initiated policy research and surveys to determine what other colleges and universities are doing, as well as preferences of UNK students. UNK’s faculty, staff and student senates in 2014 passed resolutions supporting the Peer Health Educators’ proposal to go tobacco-free.
About a dozen receptacles for smoking or tobacco materials will be placed at specific locations in parking lots to both gather debris and remind the campus community and guests to put their tobacco materials away on campus, said Kelly Bartling, assistant vice chancellor for Communications and Community Relations.
“The new policy was put out to campus in January for review and feedback, and the response was positive,” Bartling said. “We will start a new semester this fall with new rules, and removal and placement of ashtrays. We think most of our students, the rest of the campus community and our guests will see this as a positive step. It was initiated by students, for students.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2014, 17 of every 100 U.S. adults age 18 or older smoked cigarettes. In Nebraska, cigarette use is lower than other states.
Bartling said smoking-cessation programs are offered to students and faculty/staff needing help quitting. She said a social media campaign and a small number of signs will greet those coming back to campus in August.
The new policy document is on the policies page: http://www.unk.edu/about/files/unk-tobacco-free-policy.pdf
Writer: Todd Gottula, Director of Communications, 308.865.8454, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Kelly Bartling, Assistant Vice Chancellor Communications and Community Relations, 308.865.8455