Sara Wade | Staff Writer | @SaraWade13
If all goes as planned, UVU could be a tobacco free campus starting in January 2016, according to UVU’s Tobacco Free Campus open forum.
480,000 deaths in the US are related to smoking. In the fight against tobacco related deaths, many schools around the US have become tobacco free campuses. It is UVU’s intention to lead Utah universities into healthier student living by making a policy against the use of tobacco on campus.
According to information presented at the forum, making the campus tobacco free should eliminate second hand smoke on campus, decrease the amount of people who start smoking in college, and hopefully help students stop smoking.
The policy has not been passed yet.
“It may not be ‘if’ UVU will be tobacco free, it may be ‘when’ UVU is tobacco free,” said Baylee Wells, from student council.
Common concerns about becoming a tobacco free campus are mostly related to enrollments and whether or not this policy would result in a decline in student enrollment, especially with international students.
Despite that, the research from other universities has shown that international enrollments is not heavily effected, students such as Jeiser Medina from the International Student Council disagree. “It can be detrimental to international enrollment if this policy is implemented,” said Medina.
Other options, such as zones and booths that are designated for smoking have been researched, but according to the pamphlet given to attendees at the forum, in addition to the high cost of building the booths (roughly $10,000 each) “this option defeats the purpose of helping UVU be a healthier campus.”
In addition, Lorie Buttars from the Weber-Morgan Health Department said that from her observations and research with universities that use zones, in her opinion “zones do not work.”
Whether or not the feedback was mostly positive for moving forward with the new policy, UVU will most likely start campaigning for a tobacco free campus starting this summer anyway.
These campaigns will distribute information about becoming a tobacco free campus and then we can expect the policy to be implemented starting in the beginning of January.
Sara is a staff writer at The Review and writes a weekly column “Expert Opinions”. You can follow Sara on twitter at @SarahWade13.