FHSU campus to go tobacco free in 2016

Tobacco Free Campus

After creating a Tobacco Task Force in September 2014, Fort Hays State University's President's Cabinet has approved the group's recommendation for the campus to be entirely tobacco free, effective July 1, 2016.

The university's current tobacco policy allows for smoking in designated parking lots on campus. Under the new policy, all forms of tobacco - smoking and smokeless - will be prohibited. This includes e-cigarettes and vaping devices as well.

An email from President Mirta M. Martin said, "All university grounds, both indoors and outdoors, are included, and the policy applies to all FHSU students, faculty, staff, employees, volunteers, visitors, guests and contractors."

The Tobacco Task Force's responsibilities included creating and distributing a campus-wide online survey for faculty, staff and students. The results of the report, as well as additional information about the task force's actions to date, can be found at www.fhsu.edu/tobacco-policy.

The university received a grant of $25,000 from the Kansas Health Foundation to assist in this effort. These funds made it possible to hire Ty Patterson, director of the National Center for Tobacco Policy, to provide consultation and other services.

The task force will become a standing university committee charged with maintaining the policy and addressing any issues that arise.

Wendy M. Rohleder-Sook, assistant director of financial assistance, is a co-chair of the task force.

"The Tobacco Policy Committee is looking forward to continuing efforts to educate the campus community about the new policy during the next year," she said. "We will be working this summer to outline our educational campaign, plan events and launch our marketing efforts to ensure a smooth transition to the new policy in July 2016."

Other Kansas Regent universities that have recently adopted tobacco-free policies include the University of Kansas and Pittsburg State University.

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