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University forms Tobacco Policy Task Force

November 07, 2012 12:00AM

Pittsburg State University is forming a Tobacco Policy Task Force to explore the feasibility of making the campus tobacco free. The group will meet for the first time from 8:30–11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, in the Board Room of the Wilkinson Alumni Center.

The move comes after students voted overwhelming in a referendum this past spring to recommend that the campus move to a completely tobacco-free environment.

"Our students made their views on this matter clear,” said PSU President Steve Scott. “As a university, we should honor their vote by carefully exploring what tobacco policies are right for the campus. I’m looking forward to receiving the final report from our task force.”

The Tobacco Policy Task Force will be led by Jim Triplet, a professor in the Department of Biology, and Rita Girth, operations director of the Bryant Student Health Center.

The university has also secured the services of Ty Patterson, the director of the National Center for Tobacco Policy. Patterson is one of the leading experts on developing and implementing tobacco policies for higher education institutions.

“We’re very excited to have Mr. Patterson on board with us as we work through this ambitious project,” said Girth. “We believe that exploring a more progressive tobacco policy initiative allows Pittsburg State University to provide public health policy leadership, while supporting a culture that reflects a genuine respect for all members of the campus community, the environment, and institutional sustainability efforts."

Pittsburg State was actually completely smoke free prior to World War II, and it wasn’t until the return of GIs following the war that smoking was allowed. There are currently 825 smoke-free campuses throughout the nation. Of these, 608 have a total tobacco-free policy.

PSU’s Tobacco Policy Task Force will review current policies of the university and its peers regarding tobacco, engage with campus stakeholders, and identify all benefits and disadvantages to implementing a tobacco-free policy.

A final reported with recommendations will be delivered to the president in May of 2013.

©2012 Pittsburg State University