Task Force Recommendations


Current Campus Policy

The Georgia Smokefree Act of 2005 prohibits smoking in all enclosed facilities owned, leased or operated by an agency of the State of Georgia, including all enclosed facilities owned, leased or operated by the institutions of the University System of Georgia. This includes private offices. There are no exceptions allowed on any Armstrong facilities.
 
In addition to the overall campus policy, several areas on campus have a more restrictive tobacco policy:
  • Armstrong Center – designated as a smoke-free facility, with no smoking permitted within 12 feet of the building entrance/exits.
  • Campus Housing – smoking not permitted within the residential community buildings or within 100 feet of the building entrances/exits.
  • Campus Security – has a policy in place stipulating fees for smoking policy violations.

Electronic Survey

President Linda Bleicken requested that the TCTF solicit input from all campus constituents to allow the opportunity for all voices to be heard during an initial phase of data collection.  An electronic survey was fielded from September 19 -30 for this purpose.  Students, faculty, and staff were asked to provide their opinion about Armstrong’s current campus tobacco policy.
 
The survey was completed by 1,118 students, 70 faculty, and 75 staff, with 72% self-identified as not using tobacco products at all, 12% being occasional users of tobacco, and 16% using tobacco on a regular basis.  Among survey respondents, there were 251 reported health conditions exacerbated by exposure to tobacco products, including 176 cases of asthma, 18 cases of chronic bronchitis, 7 cases of oral cancer, 4 cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, 3 cases of emphysema, and 30 other respiratory diseases.  75% reported being exposed to second-hand smoke on campus.
 
Three out of every four respondents supported campus tobacco policy revision, with 449 (36%) in favor of promoting a smoke-free campus with designated smoking areas, 362 (29%) in favor of promoting a 100% tobacco-free campus, and 118 (10%) in favor of a smoke-free campus without designated smoking areas.  The remaining 25% supported maintaining the existing policy with no change.

Campus Activities/Events

Simultaneous activities were planned for September, October, and November to raise awareness about tobacco use, related health consequences, and the campus tobacco control initiative.  Events included participation in the following:
  • Armstrong Health and Wellness Fair booth – October 5, 2011
  • Armstrong Day – October 19, 2011
  • Treasure Savannah – October 22, 2011
  • Campus Cigarette Butt Pick-Up – November 11-14, 2011
  • Great American Smokeout – November 17, 2011

Letters of Support

In addition to community service events and activities, letters of support were solicited from internal groups such as campus departments and organizations, as well as from external groups within the community.  Internal supporters of the initiative included the following:
  • Faculty Senate
  • Student Government Association
  • Staff Advisory Council
  • Organizations President’s Council
  • Graduate Student Coordinating Council
  • National Student Speech Language Hearing Association
  • Armstrong IHI Student Chapter
  • Health Sciences Department
  • Health Sciences Student Association
  • Student Affairs
  • Athletics Department
  • Physical Therapy Club
  • Physical Therapy Department
  • Medical Laboratory Sciences Club
  • Armstrong Wesley Fellowship
External supporters of the initiative included the following:
  • Office the Mayor, City of Savannah
  • District Health Director, Coastal Health District
  • Administrator, Chatham County Health Department
  • St. Joseph’s Hospital
  • D1 Sports Training and Therapy of Savannah
  • Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion, Radiation Oncology Department
  • American Lung Association in Georgia
  • Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultant

Task Force Recommendations for Consideration

As a result of the activities described above, the Armstrong TCTF presents the following options for President Bleicken to consider with regard to tobacco policy revision:

Option #1

Revise the existing tobacco policy to designate the Armstrong campus as a smoke-free environment with designated smoking areas. 
  • Supports input from the majority of campus constituents (449 out of 1,241, or 36%) who participated in the electronic survey.
  • Supports the City of Savannah Smoke-Free Air Ordinance of 2010 (an ordinance to restrict smoking in places of public accommodation, including all enclosed public places within the City of Savannah, as well as smoking in outdoor areas within 10 feet or a reasonable distance outside entrances, operable windows, and ventilation systems of enclosed areas where smoking is prohibited).
  • Actions could include, but not be limited to, policy revision, identification of designated smoking areas, relocation of ashtrays away from building entrances, posting signage to communicate policy; utilization of Armstrong Marketing support for ongoing communication to campus community.
  • Would require budgetary consideration for creation of designated smoking areas.

Option #2

Revise the existing tobacco policy to designate the Armstrong campus as a 100% tobacco-free environment. 
  • Supports input from 362 of 1,241 (29%) campus constituents who participated in the electronic survey.
  • Supports the City of Savannah Smoke-Free Air Ordinance of 2010, with more restrictive stipulations so as not to permit any tobacco use on campus.
  • Actions could include, but not be limited to, policy revision, removal of ashtrays, posting signage to communicate policy; utilization of Armstrong Marketing support for ongoing communication to campus community.

Option #3

No change to the existing policy. 
  • Supports input from 312 of 1,241 (25%) campus constituents who participated in the electronic survey.
  • Abide by the City of Savannah Smoke-Free Air Ordinance of 2010, thus supporting input from additional 118 of 1,241 (10%) campus constituents who participated in the electronic survey who were in favor of a smoke-free campus without specific designated smoking areas.
  • Least costly of the three options (the initiative currently has no budget allowances).
  • Actions could include, but not be limited to, relocation of ashtrays away from building entrances, posting signage to communicate the city ordinance; utilization of Armstrong Marketing support for ongoing communication to campus community.

A final consideration is the issue of enforcement.  Depending upon which option is selected, the TCTF will collaborate with campus security/enforcement to devise a standard action plan.  It is recommended that enforcement be educational versus punitive in nature.