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UA Tobacco Free Policy Fully Implemented Across UA System

The new UA Tobacco Free Policy, approved by the Board of Regents December 2014, has been fully implemented across the entire UA System. As it stands now the University of Alaska, in its entirety, is designated tobacco-free. For those who would like more information on the policy, click the following link:

(R05.12.102 Smoke-Free/Tobacco-Free Campuses – scroll down to page 18) http://www.alaska.edu/bor/policy/05-12.pdf

When the policy was adopted, the Board of Regents agreed that a one-year grace period was needed to allow campuses to promote and educate their communities about the change. There has been a general acceptance of the new policy and a noticeable decrease in the use of tobacco products on UA campuses. A number of employees have reported that they have quit smoking or are seeking cessation assistance because of the policy change.

Each semester brings new students, faculty and staff to our campuses that may not be fully aware of the policy, which restricts the use of all tobacco products on any campus except in private vehicles. When welcoming new employees, interacting with students or bringing other groups onto campus for specific functions, it may be necessary to share information about the new tobacco-free policy.

The habits and practices that form along with tobacco addiction are very strong and will not disappear with the establishment of a policy. This is not an easy life change for some people and support, compassion and understanding for co-workers and students are needed.

However, this change is in the best interest of the health of our campus communities. The tobacco-free policy follows societal changes in tobacco use and keeps UA inline with many campuses around the country. It doesn’t happen overnight but is a process set in motion that needs to be rooted in consideration and acceptance to be successful. This will be a difficult policy to enforce, and on occasion people still witness people smoking on campus or near building entrances.

Compliance with UA’s tobacco-free policy is not optional. There are consequences that can result from continued violation of this policy, just as there are from violating any other policy or university regulation.

No single entity has been tasked to enforce UA’s tobacco-free policy since it is truly a community-wide effort. Each member of our campus can, if they feel comfortable, take steps to remind those violating the policy that our campus is now tobacco-free. 

UA will continue our efforts to assure that the public and campus community is aware of the policy. There does not exist any UA sponsored “designated smoking areas” in or around buildings or on any campus. If you are standing on UA property consider yourself in a tobacco-free zone. If you need help achieving that goal please take advantage of smoking cessation tools and programs (www.alaska.edu/benefits/tobacco-use/) or at least respect the policy and limit smoking to a personal vehicle or off university property.

Breathe easy.

 
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