Campus is tobacco free

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A tobacco-free campus sign

Workers this morning installed tobacco-free signs at key points on the 100-acre campus.

Maintenance worker Harry Weyer sweeps up cigarette butts near the Miller Center A tobacco-free campus sign  Julie Condon, ESL coordinator, organizes the Aug. 1 cigarette butt clean-up A pile of cigarette butts near the Miller Center Logo for tobacco-free St. Cloud State 

St. Cloud State University is a tobacco-free campus.

Today, the university became the sixth four-year school in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system and one of more than 280 colleges nationally to implement a tobacco-free policy. View the American Lung Association's tobacco-free college list (PDF).

Hundreds more U.S. colleges restrict smoking to designated areas. Last week the Ohio Board of Regents, which governs state colleges serving nearly 540,000 students, recommended a tobacco ban for its system schools.

St. Cloud State employees, including maintenance workers, were among those collecting cigarette butts campus-wide today to call attention to the policy.

"I've been waiting on this for 20 years," said Robin Smith, Stewart Hall maintenance worker.

Harry Weyer described the daily stoop labor required to clean up cigarette butts at Shoemaker Hall's entryways and the retaining wall along the residence hall's north wing.

"It's just nice to see this come to an end," said Weyer, holding a gallon-sized zip-lock bag partially-filled with cigarette butts. About 14 gallons were collected, according to Julie Condon, ESL coordinator, who organized the clean-up.

Exceptions for tobacco use at St. Cloud State are allowed in accordance with the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act (PDF):

  • Traditional Native American ceremonies, scientific studies and theatrical productions.
  • Private vehicles on university property, as long as respect for individuals and the environment is demonstrated.

Trained advocates, signage, news stories, print materials and other means of communication are informing the campus community and visitors about the policy.

Get the documents and details at St. Cloud State's Tobacco Free website.

In October 2010, President Earl H. Potter III appointed a task force of faculty, staff and students to review existing policy and public health information, keep the campus informed of findings and seek broad input through a variety of mechanisms.

This was done in response to a March 2010 MnSCU Board of Trustees resolution that encouraged system schools to consult with students and employees about steps their institutions might take regarding tobacco use. 

After a year of campus-wide discussions, St. Cloud State transitioned to permitting tobacco use only in designated areas or private vehicles. Also during that time, the university offered education, awareness, support and cessation services to the campus community.

The work of the Smoking Policy Review Task Force was supported by grant funds from the Public Health Division of Stearns County Human Services, in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Health's Statewide Health Improvement Program

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