Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative
Isn’t it my right to use tobacco?
Tobacco is a legal product that can be purchased and possessed at the discretion of any adult; however, the use of tobacco is subject to restrictions. This is evidenced by the numerous public restrictions on the use of tobacco, which have been put into place by state laws as well as by businesses and organizations throughout the state and the nation. DACC is not taking away anyone’s right to smoke or purchase and/or possess tobacco. However, one of our institutional goals is to create an environment for our students, staff and visitors that is safe and healthy. Therefore, out of respect for others and the environment, DACC is a tobacco free campus.
What other freedoms will DACC take away?
While we don’t perceive we are taking away anyone’s rights or freedoms, we do understand those concerns that have arisen as a result of the move to a tobacco free campus. If there is any other freedom in which those involved are shown to be disrespectful to others around and to the surrounding environment, the possible removal of those freedoms would be explored as well. DACC will continue to set policies that create an environment that is safe and healthy for our students, staff, and visitors.
Why can’t the state law which states those using tobacco products must stay at least 15 feet away from all entrances be better enforced instead? Or why not have designated smoking areas instead?
The 2006 US Surgeon General’s Report, “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke,” has concluded that exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, according to the World Health Organization, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke and the only effective way to protect others is to establish 100% smoke free environments. Because of these findings, and because there is no way to prevent exposure to second hand smoke when using designated areas, DACC has chosen to adopt a policy that states that the use of tobacco products is prohibited on DACC campus.
Won’t we lose students if we enforce a tobacco-free campus?
The most current information according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation is that at least 530 colleges and universities in the US have enacted 100% smoke-free campus policies (www.no-smoke.org). Ty Patterson, Director of the Center of Excellence for Tobacco Free Campus Policy at Ozark Technical College, who has assisted hundreds of college campuses in establishing a 100% smoke free campus policy, states, “We know of no institution that has experienced a decline in enrollment as a result of a smoke free policy.” While we don’t expect to lose students due to the adoption of a tobacco-free campus policy, if a student chooses to go to a college/university that does not have such a policy for their education that is their right to do so.
Is there enough DACC security officers to ensure a smoke-free campus?
The approach the college is taking with regard to enforcement of the policy is multi-faceted and involves not only security but also key individuals that will be the ones to guide the enforcement aspect of the initiative. These individuals are from all areas of campus, and involve not only administration but also faculty and support staff. They have received training on how to approach someone who is found to be using tobacco products on campus. The emphasis of the interaction will be that of respect, education, and compliance of the policy. That being said, those that are found to be repeatedly in violation of the policy will face further disciplinary measures which may (for students) lead up to and include expulsion and/or suspension. Employees that are repeatedly found to be using tobacco products will also face disciplinary actions according to policies currently in place.
Who should I talk to if I have questions?
All members of the Tobacco-Free Campus Task Force want to ensure an environment of respect and open communication is maintained. You may direct questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your questions and comments, and may use them for additional FAQs on this webpage.