Kent State of Wellness Provides a Healthier Work – and Living – Environment
As part of the university’s Kent State of Wellness initiative, Kent State University is becoming a smoke-free, tobacco-free campus. A part of the university’s Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State, all Kent State campuses will be smoke- and tobacco-free beginning July 1, 2017, fostering the wellbeing of the university community and the environment.
According to NoSmoke.org, an estimated 1.69 billion pounds of cigarette butts end up in landfills each year. The policy not only helps to address this problem, but also will help to beautify campus by removing the cigarette receptacles around buildings.
Tammie Richards, clerical specialist in Kent State’s School of Health Sciences, has smoked for more than 20 years and feels this is a great way to shake things up regarding smoking habits and helping individuals to quit.
“The smoke-free, tobacco-free policy is a way for everyone to feel better,” Richards says. “I think it will be good for a lot of health reasons, and it gives you more of a reason to stop smoking.”
Richards believes a smoke-free, tobacco-free campus will reduce the temptation to light up because you will not see others smoking on campus.
Tobacco remains the single-largest preventable cause of death and disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and quitting has benefits at any age.
Timothy Roberts, associate lecturer and undergraduate studies coordinator for Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, started smoking when he was 16 years old and believes the initiative will help him quit.
“The time has come for this initiative because smoking is a public health issue,” Roberts says. “I think the policy will help social smokers not become habitual smokers.”
Richards agrees. She does not want to contribute to that public health issue.
“Being in the School of Health Sciences, it doesn’t set a good example,” Richards says. “I would usually leave campus at lunch or hide, so students wouldn’t see me smoke.”
According to The Tobacco Atlas, tobacco smoke contains more than 170 toxins, including arsenic, benzene and hydrogen cyanide. Thirty-three of these toxins are classified as hazardous air pollutants and 67 are human or animal carcinogens.
As part of the initiative, the university will be offering cessation resources to those who are considering quitting smoking.
Roberts commends Kent State for covering prescription medications that combat tobacco addiction.
“The university is not just talking the talk, it is walking the walk,” Roberts says.
The new smoke-free, tobacco-free policy covers all Kent State campuses, locations and properties, both domestic and international. The policy applies to all members of the Kent State community, including students, employees, vendors, volunteers, visitors and customers on all Kent State property.