Tobacco and e-cigarettes will be prohibited starting this summer
THE SANTA CLARA
April 30, 2015
Members of the Santa Clara community will have to stamp out their cigarettes in compliance with a new policy banning the use of tobacco products on campus, beginning July 1, 2015.
Cigarettes, cigars, hookahs and any other tobacco products, including chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes, will be prohibited according to the policy. The sale and advertising of tobacco products on campus also will not be tolerated.
E-cigarettes were banned in addition to normal cigarettes as a comprehensive measure.
The policy will apply to all faculty, staff, students and visitors to Santa Clara.
“It is not clear yet just what the health effects of e-cigarettes are because they are a new product,” said Jeanne Rosenberger, vice provost for student life and dean of students. “In addition, our policy was modeled off other ones in the county, the (University of California), and (California State University), and they all included e-cigarettes.”
According to Sonja Mackenzie, an assistant professor in the public health program, Santa Clara adopted the policy in an effort to contribute to the growing movement to reduce smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke in communities around the country.
“The new policy sends a clear message that Santa Clara cares about the health of the campus community, and that we don’t want such harmful products used or sold on campus,” said public health Professor Craig Stephens.
Over 1,500 colleges and universities in the United States have implemented similar policies in recent months and years.
“The right to smoke is outweighed by the right to clean air,” said H. Westley Clark, the dean’s executive professor of the public health program. “The new policy reduces the prospect of harm to everyone on campus and, perhaps, provides an incentive to smokers to redouble their efforts to quit smoking.”
Campus Safety Services is ultimately responsible for the policy’s enforcement. Officers would take punitive action for a repeat offender, and the individual would be subject to a judicial process for failing to comply with a reasonable request from a university official, according to Rosenberger.
“In the long run, the effectiveness of the policy won’t depend on aggressive enforcement, but rather on education and community support,” said Stephens.
The Healthy Campus Committee was already in the process of discussing a smoke-free policy in 2011, according to Rosenberger. The committee is made up of members from Cowell Health Center, Office of Student Life, the Wellness Center and other organizations.
It works to identify strategies for promoting healthy decision-making by students at Santa Clara.
A group of public health students wrote a report evaluating the actions taken by schools nationwide to reduce the health effects of issues like secondhand smoke in 2012.
They made a formal proposal for the university to go smoke and tobacco-free.
“Our faculty and students had a key role in working with stakeholders across the university for years to encourage the administration to develop such a policy,” said Stephens, who helped establish and draft the proposal with Katherine Saxton of the Biology Department.
The University Coordinating Committee received the proposal and sent it to different policy committees for review in January 2014.
It was officially approved in August of 2014 to go into effect on July 1, 2015.
Since sending an email to notify the university of the upcoming policy, Rosenberger has received mainly positive feedback and responses.
“I agree with the new policy because campus was never a place I wanted to be concerned with secondhand smoke, and I can definitely see why people might get upset about it,” said sophomore Andrea Modugno.
Rosenberger said Santa Clara will make the new policy obvious on campus in the coming months.
Santa Clara has already notified incoming students of the rule in their acceptance material, and information will be going out to alumni to ensure they are aware when they return for events.
“During the initial phase, large signs will be placed in high-traffic areas like Benson, the library and Malley reminding people of the policy,” said Rosenberger. “Eventually, there will be subtle signage at different areas around campus.”
Contact Krista Clawson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.