By: Logan Pierce,editor-in-chief
During the 2010 fall semester it was announced that RSC would be tobacco free as of August 1st, 2011. Chris Leland, director of the health and wellness center, emphasized
that the campus will be tobacco free; not merely smoke free. “Any tobacco or simulated tobacco product is not allowed,” Leland said.
Signs posted around campus raise awareness of the new policy. The tobacco ban is all-encompassing. No ashtrays will remain on campus. Individuals in the parking lots found using tobacco products in their cars will be subject to fines. “If you smoke anywhere on campus property, you’re violating the policy,” Leland said.
Within the last five years, electronic cigarettes have risen to prominence as an alternative for those who want tobacco where smoking is not allowed. These
“e-cigarettes” use liquid cartridges containing various levels of nicotine and release water vapor into the air instead of smoke. Studies on the effects of second-hand water vapor are ongoing. Leland said that artificial tobacco devices go against school policy. “No electronic cigarettes.” Leland said, “They’re like Splenda cigarettes.”
By becoming a tobacco free school, Rose State College qualifies for government grants, Leland said. The Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (OTSET) receives funds from the government to help reduce the effects of tobacco on society. The money is funneled to different local organizations; one of which is the Oklahoma County Tobacco Use Prevention Coalition (OCTUPC). They allocate these funds to compliant public entities wishing to support smoking cessation programs.
“Tobacco use is detrimental to your health and the health of others.” Leland said, “It’s an addiction; an addiction to chemicals. We’re not telling you that you can’t smoke, but you can’t do it here; and if you’d like to quit, we’re here to help.”
To aid smokers who want to “kick the habit,” the Health and Wellness Center is offering a tobacco cessation resource guide that includes activities to help conquer cravings and information about a “stop smoking” iPhone app.
Leland said that the cessation resource guide is only one of many options available. “No one thing works for everybody.” Leland said, “You have to keep trying. For most, it takes multiple times to quit smoking. If something doesn’t work, try a different approach.”
Working in conjuncture with the American Lung Association, the Health and Wellness Center will provide classes for students on smoking cessation. “This isn’t a one-time workshop.” Leland said, “This is a year-long class that’s free for current students.“ Leland said that to succeed in this class you need to be able to say, “I want to do everything within my power to become tobacco free.”
Regarding public opinion for the new policy, Leland said that most feedback has been positive. “I’d like students to think ‘I’m going to college to better my life, so maybe quitting smoking is part of that’.”