Missouri University of Science and Technology will become a tobacco-free campus on Aug. 1, 2016, joining over 1,000 other colleges and universities in the U.S. that have chosen to go tobacco-free or smoke-free.
The decision follows months of deliberation on campus, including open forums, online feedback, revisions to a proposed policy by a campus work group, and reviews by the Missouri S&T Chancellor’s Council and Chancellor’s Cabinet.
“Since initiating a policy proposition last fall, our campus community has discussed and debated the merits of becoming a tobacco-free campus,” says Dr. Cheryl B. Schrader, chancellor of Missouri S&T. “We have heard from many students, faculty and staff who attended our open forums, submitted comments online or signed petitions in support of a tobacco-free campus on one hand or supported designated smoking areas on the other hand. After considering all feedback, we have moved forward to make Missouri S&T a tobacco-free campus.
“It is in the best interest of our students, faculty, staff and visitors to promote a healthy environment for all,” Schrader adds. “While the use of tobacco is a personal choice, the health hazards related to tobacco use are well-documented.”
When it takes effect Aug. 1, the tobacco-free policy will prohibit the use of any tobacco-derived or tobacco-containing product on property owned or controlled by Missouri S&T, including property under lease and vehicles owned, leased or rented by the university. The policy also extends to privately owned or leased vehicles while on campus property.
Products prohibited under the policy include cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and vapes, cigars and cigarillos, hookah-smoked products, pipes, and oral and nasal tobacco products. The use of products intended to mimic tobacco products or the smoking of any other substance are also prohibited.
Exemptions to the policy may be granted in certain instances, such as for theatrical productions where the use of tobacco products is integral to the performance or production and for approved scientific studies involving the use of tobacco.
The policy was drafted by a work group chaired by Shenethia Manuel, vice chancellor for Human Resources, Equity and Inclusion.
According to the 2015 Missouri College Health Behavior Survey, only 15 percent of Missouri S&T students smoke on a daily basis, and 88 percent of those who smoke want to quit. Over 71 percent of Missouri S&T students believe that S&T should have smoke-free outdoor areas.
The new policy is posted online at chancellor.mst.edu/policy.
Missouri S&T and the University of Missouri System offer wellness initiatives to help individuals quit tobacco or cut back on their tobacco use.
For students, those initiatives include one-on-one tobacco cessation programs, nicotine replacement therapy (in the form of patches, gum or lozenges), coaching and goal assessment, a personalized quit plan and peer support. More information is available at studentwellness.mst.edu/tobacco/.
For faculty and staff, tobacco cessation resources include free online digital health coaching, information about smoking cessation medications, and smartphone applications for Android or iPhone devices. Faculty and staff also who are tobacco-free or commit to quit tobacco also are eligible for discounts on their health insurance premiums through the university. More information is available at hr.mst.edu/rewards/wellness/tobacco-freecampus/tobaccocessation/.
In addition, information on how to quit tobacco or cut back on tobacco use is available at umsystem.edu/totalrewards/wellness/tobacco_cessation.