Lantern file photo
Students, staff and faculty who are smokers at Ohio State might have to put away their cigarettes and lighters, as the university is considering moving to a 100 percent tobacco-free environment.
“Our goal is to become the healthiest university on the globe,” said Bernadette Melnyk, the dean of the College of Nursing, in an email. “It will improve everyone’s health and wellness. Smoking is the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the U.S.”
Tobacco use would be prohibited anywhere on university property including extension offices and regional campuses, she said but added that off-campus areas would not be affected.
“Smoke-free policies and norms reduce the initiation, prevalence and intensity of smoking in young adults,” she said.
Faculty and staff would also have to comply with the new policy if accepted, Melnyk said.
“Workplace smoking bans reduce the prevalence of smoking and daily cigarette consumption,” she said.
Support was generated from faculty, staff and students for the university to become tobacco-free since the Wexner Medical Center did so in 2006, according to the OSU’s tobacco-free proposal website.
Recommendations for universities and colleges to go tobacco-free have also been made from the Ohio Board of Regents, the Ohio Board of Education, the State of Ohio Healthy Ohio Program and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, according to the website.
While tobacco usage would be prohibited, OSU would also reduce its association with the tobacco industry, Melnyk said. “(There will be) no tobacco advertising on university property, at events or media,” she said, adding that donations, gifts or sponsorships that are associated with the tobacco industry would not be accepted, except for research.
The university will be holding university-wide discussions that include three open forums on campus that are open to students, staff and faculty and a teleconference for those who are not located in Columbus, according to the website.
The open forums take place in the Science and Engineering Library Room 090. The first forum is on Monday, at 10 a.m. with the second forum on Oct. 15, at 9 a.m. and the final one on Oct. 18 at 2:30 p.m. The teleconference is on Tuesday, at 1 p.m. but those wishing to participate must register on the website.
Officials hope the final decision will be approved in November and December, with the implementation of the new policy going into effect for Spring Semester, according to the website.
If approved, “a broadly representative implementation committee of faculty, staff, students and community members will be appointed,” Melnyk said. The committee would “seek advice and feedback on communicating and managing the change, facilitate and monitor the change process (and) revise (the) nonsmoking policy (through) the university policy process,” she said.
However, not all students support the proposal.
“We’ll have to walk all the way down to High Street for one cigarette,” said Younghoo Yoo, a third-year in logistics management. Yoo said there needs to be a space for faculty and students to smoke on campus.
On the other hand, some students support the proposal.
“I would appreciate it if it became more tobacco-free,” said Jennifer Keller, a third-year in materials science and engineering. Keller said tobacco usage is harmful to others and smells bad.
More than 26 percent of adults ages 18 to 24 in Ohio are smokers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.