Riding a national trend in higher education, Daytona State College is considering a proposed policy that would make its campuses tobacco free zones.
While much work remains to be done before procedures for implementation and enforcement can be written and adopted, a draft policy currently is being reviewed by the college’s internal constituent groups, which include faculty, staff and students. Under a new governance structure established by the college, these groups will have the opportunity to refine the proposal’s specific language before it is presented to Daytona State President Carol Eaton and her senior executive staff for consideration and final approval by the District Board of Trustees.
“We want to make sure it gets a good, thorough vetting and conversation before moving forward,” Eaton said recently.
Such a ban, as the draft policy currently is written, would prohibit smoking by anyone on college property, both indoors and outdoors, including faculty, staff, students, vendors and other visitors. It also prohibits “the use of an electronic cigarette or any other device intended to simulate smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco, including snuff; chewing tobacco; smokeless pouches; and any other form of loose-leaf, smokeless tobacco; and the use of unlit cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco.”
The draft policy does not establish designated smoking areas on campus. Nor does it specifically speak to how a ban on tobacco use on college property would be enforced. That would be addressed by a college-wide task force comprised of representatives of departments that have a stake in implementing and promoting Daytona State as a tobacco-free zone, according to School of Health and Wellness Coordinator Nancy Homan, who, along with Fitness Center Specialist John Tosi, is a principal investigator for a smoking awareness and cessation grant awarded to the college in 2010 by Area Health Education Centers of Northeast Florida.
That grant resulted in the creation of a “No Butts Committee” at Daytona State, whose members include Homan, Tosi, faculty members Christel Saylor and Pam Ridilla, and career employee Lori Lemoine. The committee is supported by representatives of the School of Health, Human and Public Services; Co-Curricular Activities and Athletics; the Student Government Association; the environmental, dental and respiratory clubs; and Counseling Services, to name a few. In addition to its mission to educate college constituents and the general public about the effects of tobacco use, the No Butts Committee also was given the task of developing a tobacco-free campus policy by the former college administration led by then Interim President Frank Lombardo.
In considering the draft policy, the committee surveyed more than 1,000 students and college employees during fall 2010 and spring 2011. The surveys revealed that while more than 20 percent of those responding smoked, more than 60 percent of those smokers would like to quit. The surveys also noted that 70 percent of respondents have experienced discomfort with second-hand smoke when entering college facilities.
Homan said the overriding goal of the proposed policy is to create a healthy environment for students, employees and visitors. “Smoking is increasingly being prohibited in public facilities across the country, as well as by employers,” she said. “As an institution of higher learning, we are obligated to provide our students with the kind of culture that will prepare them for the workforce.”
Pointing out that college students are among the largest groups targeted by tobacco companies, she added, “Tobacco-free environments are not about forcing individuals to change their lifestyle or behavior. Rather, they intend to protect the greater campus community and college interests.”
According to the American Non-Smokers’ Rights Foundation, 648 colleges and universities across the nation completely prohibit tobacco use on their campuses as of January this year. This includes only those colleges that have already enacted and are enforcing their policies. Hundreds of other institutions are considering enacting tobacco-free campus policies.
In Florida, the list of institutions which already have policies in place includes:
· Edison State College
· Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences
· Florida International University
· Gulf Coast State College
· Miami Dade College
· South Florida Community College
· University of Central Florida
· University of Florida
· University of Miami Medical Campus
· University of South Florida
· Valencia College
· Warner University
Homan said Daytona State’s proposal mirrors policies at South Florida Community College, the University of Florida and Edison State.
“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” she said, referring how Daytona State’s initiative will ultimately come to fruition. “It’s being done, and we can take some lessons from some of our sister institutions that have already done this.”