UIS Tobacco-Free Policy Message, January 2015
As you may already know, then-Governor Pat Quinn signed the Illinois Smoke-Free Campus Act several months ago. This legislation prohibits smoking on the campuses of all-state supported colleges and universities in Illinois. Since that decision, an implementation team (see list below), led by UIS Senior Director of Human Resources Laura Alexander, has been working to develop appropriate policies and procedures to enable the UIS campus to be in compliance with the new law which will be implemented July 1, 2015. The task force has been guided by best practices implemented on other campuses throughout the country as well as by their own conclusion that a tobacco-free campus is an important element in the health, well-being, and safety of students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors.
The task force developed a two-year phased approach for implementation of a tobacco-free campus policy and I am pleased to communicate that approach and the associated policies and activities today.
Starting July 1, 2015, the use of all tobacco products on university property (except in privately owned vehicles traveling or parked on campus) will be prohibited. The policy begins on the same day the Illinois Smoke-Free Campus Act goes into effect statewide. The law bans smoking on all college and university campuses, except in private vehicles.
The following year, starting on July 1, 2016, UIS will become a completely tobacco-free campus. The use of tobacco products will be prohibited on all university property, including in private and university vehicles traveling or parked on university property.
In implementing a tobacco-free policy, UIS joins almost 1500 other colleges and universities across the U.S. that have gone “smoke free”, including the other University of Illinois campuses in Champaign-Urbana and Chicago. There is incontrovertible evidence that smoking is dangerous to health and that secondhand smoke affects everyone exposed to it. By providing a tobacco-free campus, UIS will encourage the overall well-being of students, faculty and staff and can better prepare students for tobacco-free workplaces where they are likely to be employed in the future. It will also create a cleaner and safer campus.
We obviously respect everyone’s personal decision to choose what is best for them. At the same time, we hope that the new policy and resources provided will offer helpful incentives for smokers who wish to quit their tobacco use. UIS has joined with the American Lung Association to provide free tobacco cessation resources to students and employees through the Illinois Tobacco Quitline. The Quitline provides tobacco cessation counseling and other tools for tobacco users who want to quit. The line is staffed daily from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. More information can be found at the American Lung Association website. (http://www.lungil.org)
My sincere thanks to all the members of the task force who worked so diligently to develop the Tobacco-Free Policy and implementation plan. We anticipate a smooth transition over the next several months.
Tobacco-Free Campus Implementation Committee:
- Laura Alexander, Senior Director of Human Resources, Human Resources
- David Barrows, Associate Chancellor of Administrative Affairs, Executive Director of Facilities & Services
- Valerie Gebhardt, Adjunct Instructor, Counseling Center
- Shipra Gupta, Assistant Professor, Business Administration
- Carolyn Neitzke, Director of Conference Services, Facilities Scheduling Services
- Kurt Piskin, Natural Sciences Technical Assistant
- John Ringle, Director of Housing and Residence Life
- Tim Smith, representing Sangamon Auditorium Advisory Council
- Chevaughn Starling, President, Resident Housing Association
- Bradley Strickler, Police Lieutenant, Campus Police
- Guerry Suggs, representing UIS Athletics Advisory Council
- Blake Wood, Multimedia Writer/Producer, Campus Relations