Tobacco and smoke free policy now in place at SCSU

Jessica Pellegrino – General Assignment Reporter

Southern Connecticut State University is now tobacco- and smoke-free following the implementation of new policies effective August 25.

Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety, Chief Joseph M. Dooley, along with university officials, Health Services, and countless others, began spearheading the campaign last semester. Southern is the most recent in a string of universities and colleges around the country who are making the decision to become tobacco-free.

However, it is the first public university in the state of Connecticut to take the leap.

“At the beginning of last year, Sen. Chris Murphy wrote to President Obama to express his interest in making public universities tobacco-free. After that, committees were created and we got the ball rolling,” said Chief Dooley.

According to the new policy, which is available in full on Southern’s website, “Smoking and tobacco use are prohibited in all facilities and areas of the Southern Connecticut State University campus with no exception.”

This policy encompasses all aspects of campus. This means that smoking and tobacco products are not allowed inside or outside any of Southern’s buildings and properties, including parking lots, quads, and on the street.

The policy also states: “For purposes of this policy, ‘smoking’ means inhaling, exhaling, burning, carrying, or possessing any lighted tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and any other lit tobacco products. ‘Tobacco use’ means the personal use of any tobacco product, whether intended to be lit or not, which shall include smoking, as defined above, as well as the use of an electronic cigarette or any other device intended to simulate smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco, including snuff; chewing tobacco; smokeless pouches; and other form of loose-leaf, smokeless tobacco; and the use of unlit cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah and any other device using smoke and vapor.”

According to Chief Dooley, the enforcement of the policy will be gradual.

Dooley said, “The first year of the program and initiative will be dedicated to education and awareness. I want to make sure that by the end of the year, everyone affected by the policy understands the policy.”

Some of the enforcement responsibility will fall on the community. “Be supportive and help out where you can,” said Dooley.

Southern is also offering help to students in need. Dr. Diane S. Morgenthaler, Director of Health and Wellness, is letting students know about cessation programs being offered to help the policy’s chances of success.

“Health Services is offering an 8 week program which will involve nicotine replacement, if appropriate, and weekly discussions on topics that interfere with a successful outcome. We are also participating in a nicotine replacement and text messaging study for students that qualify which offers a $60 stipend,” said Dr. Morgenthaler.

If these programs don’t interest a tobacco using student, Dr. Morgenthaler still recommends that the student make an appointment with Health Services to talk about cessation options.

She also said, “Faculty and staff will have services available on campus through Communicare, a Behavioral Health System.”

Chief Dooley said the general community response to the policies has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive.

The full policy and contact information for the Health Center and cessation programs can be found on Southern’s website.

Photo Credit: Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor


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