Input sought for smoke-free campus policy

Input sought for smoke-free campus policy

Man smoking a cigarette

University administrators and student leaders are conducting a survey to gauge interest in creating a tobacco/smoke-free campus policy.

The survey will measure support for and against a policy to prohibit the use of all smoke and vapor products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookahs, electronic cigarettes and similar devices) campuswide, including outdoor areas. The university currently prohibits the use of tobacco products inside and within a designated proximity to campus buildings and sports venues, as well as inside university vehicles.

Faculty, staff and students can complete the online survey from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 8. Student responses will be collected through the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska elections, specifically senate bill No. 14. Students will be able to access the ASUN ballot by logging into MyRed. Faculty and staff will receive instructions via email to access the survey.

Adoption of a policy would place the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on a growing list of colleges and universities nationwide that have adopted or are in the process of approving a tobacco/smoke-free campus protocol. Nationally, there are more than 1,755 campuses that are 100 percent smoke free and an additional 1,331 that prohibit electronic cigarette use.

The university is the only institution in the University of Nebraska system that does not have a tobacco-free policy. Other Nebraska institutions of higher education -- including Creighton University, Bellevue University, Clarkson College, College of Saint Mary, York College and the Nebraska Methodist College -- have adopted smoke-free campus policies.

Among Big Ten peers, the university is one of three institutions that does not totally restrict the use of tobacco products on campus.

Tobacco use causes more than 480,000 deaths per year, and more than 16 million Americans suffer from tobacco-related disease. Eliminating tobacco use on campus may mitigate second-hand impacts of smoking and may help other people quit using tobacco products.

The ASUN Campus Life and Safety Committee and the Tobacco-Free Campus Taskforce are working together to pose the survey question to campus.