- Why is tobacco use an issue?
- Tobacco is the leading cause of premature and preventable death, responsible for more than 440,000 deaths a year in the United States. Cigarette smoking alone is responsible for more deaths than HIV/AIDS, alcohol, motor vehicle crashes, homicide, suicide, illegal drugs and fires - COMBINED.
Tobacco addiction begins almost exclusively among youth and young adults. The 2012 Surgeon General's Report shows that 99% of smokers begin smoking and using other forms of tobacco by age 26, making college and university campuses a critical target for tobacco use prevention and cessation efforts. To learn more about the Surgeon General's Report, see the Surgeon General's article Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults.
- Why did Armstrong become a tobacco-free campus?
- Armstrong is dedicated to ensuring the health and wellness of everyone on campus. By banning the use of tobacco products, Armstrong is underscoring its commitment to provide a healthy learning environment for students and a healthy work environment for faculty and staff. Armstrong's tobacco-free policy supports the City of Savannah Smoke-Free Air Ordinance of 2010 and the Chatham County Smoke-Free Ordinance of 2012.
- When did Armstrong's tobacco free policy take effect?
- The policy was implemented on August 1, 2012, at the start of the Fall 2012 semester.
- Which tobacco products are prohibited from campus?
- Armstrong's tobacco-free policy prohibits the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), and all other tobacco products on campus property.
- Why are electronic cigarettes included?
- Electronic cigarette use is found to be highest among college students. While it may be used as an aid to quit smoking, it is still a highly concentrated source of addictive nicotine and it has not been regulated or studied enough to support claims of use for tobacco cessation. E-cigarettes also pollute the air and early research shows negative lung effects and inflammation, similar to smoking. For information about poisoning related to e-cigarettes see the CDC article E-cigarette study.
- Are other colleges and institutions within the University System of Georgia tobacco-free, similar to Armstrong?
- Yes, the Board of Regents adopted a tobacco and smoke-free campus policy to make all USG institutions 100% tobacco-free effective October 1, 2014. For more information about the USG tobacco-free initiative, visit http://www.usg.edu/tobaccofree.
- Isn't tobacco use a personal right?
- Tobacco usage is completely legal for adults above the age of 18. The USG, including Armstrong, is not forcing anyone to quit. The university system owns campus properties, and can establish policies that protect the health of all university system members. A tobacco-free policy does not prohibit tobacco use; it merely establishes where use can occur.
- Where can I find a copy of Armstrong's tobacco-free policy?
- Armstrong's tobacco-free policy can be found on the tobacco initiative web page, located on the Tobacco-Free Campus - Policy Webpage.
- How is Armstrong's tobacco-free policy communicated to the campus?
- Communication about Armstrong's tobacco-free policy is continuous around campus. There is permanent signage at all entrance points, major intersections, parking lots, etc. Temporary signs are placed in highly visible locations all around campus before the start of each semester to remind newcomers, as well as returning students, faculty, and staff, about the policy.
New students are advised of the policy during NAVIGATE sessions. New faculty and staff are being advised of the policy during their orientation as new hires.
The policy is included in documents such as student, faculty, and staff handbooks. There are posters and window labels around campus in visible locations. Visitors who are attending events on-campus (e.g., athletic events, presentations, community activities) are reminded of the policy via signage, announcements, visitor parking passes, and other forms of communication as appropriate for the event.
The initiative maintains a web page dedicated to electronic communication for current information and announcements. This may serve as the starting point to access details about tobacco policy-related activities and available resources, such as cessation materials, class registration, etc. It also serves as the location to ask questions (which will be addressed in the FAQs), and report concerns (which are forwarded to the Tobacco Policy Committee for resolution).
- How is the tobacco policy enforced?
- This is probably the most frequently-asked question about the policy. According to the policy, faculty and staff who violate the policy may be subject to discipline in accordance with the ASU Employee Handbook. Students who violate the policy may be subject to discipline in accordance with the Student Conduct Code. Other persons who violate the policy may be asked to discontinue their use of tobacco on campus or to leave the campus.
Expert sources indicate that tobacco policy enforcement is most effective when based on qualities of respect for each other and for the environment, rather than being punitive in nature. Therefore, initial enforcement during the first semester (Fall 2012) adhered to this model of mutual respect, and continues today.
We hope that all members of our Armstrong community will be good campus citizens by demonstrating compliance with the policy. It is our hope that this model will be adequate.
The Tobacco Policy Committee continuously reviews feedback regarding compliance and the potential need for additional attention to enforcement practices. Should there be any serious enforcement issues requiring resolution, a corrective action plan will be devised, based upon the need. The campus community will be informed of any enforcement changes, should this occur.
- What should I do if I see someone smoking or using tobacco products on campus?
- The enforcement model is based upon mutual respect and good citizenship within Armstrong’s campus community. Should you see someone violating the tobacco policy, you are welcome to politely remind the person about the tobacco-free policy. However, many people do not feel comfortable doing this, and it is certainly not an expectation.
Another approach is to report the violation anonymously via the tobacco policy web page. One of the most important details to provide will be the location of the violation. This will enable the Tobacco Policy Committee to assess whether there are any specific areas on campus that need follow-up to promote better enforcement.
It is important to recognize that enforcement should always be respectful, discreet, and positive, NOT confrontational and negative.
- What about students, faculty and staff who need help to quit smoking?
- Armstrong offers ongoing information and support to student, faculty, and staff to encourage tobacco cessation initiatives. The university is dedicated to helping members of the Armstrong community quit smoking and eliminate tobacco use.
- What tobacco cessation resources will be available for those who wish to quit using tobacco products?
- Armstrong offers Fresh Start smoking/tobacco cessation classes on an ongoing basis for all members of the campus community, including students, faculty, and staff. Registration is required for planning purposes, and there is no cost to participate. For access to the registration form visit Tobacco Free Campus Smoking Cessation Classes.
The USG tobacco policy web page offers additional resources. Check them out at http://www.usg.edu/tobaccofree.