Inver Hills to go tobacco-free in August

Just got this from Inver Hills Community College:

Inver Hills to go tobacco free in August

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS – As part of the institution’s philosophy to create a clean, safe and healthy learning and working environment, Inver Hills Community College will be a tobacco-free campus as of Aug. 17, 2011.

The new policy — the recommendation of the college’s Tobacco Policy Taskforce — prohibits smoking and smokeless tobacco use in all college facilities and on all college grounds. Tobacco use will be limited to private vehicles and designated college parking lots.

Smoking currently is allowed in designated areas on campus.

“Despite past efforts by the college to limit tobacco use to designated areas on campus, many smokers have continued to smoke in non-designated areas, costing the college approximately $15,000 a year in clean-up costs,” Inver Hills President Tim Wynes said. “There also have been incidents of personal and college property damage as a result of carelessly discarded cigarette butts.”

Past efforts to improve the situation included updating signage, providing educational information about the harmful effects of tobacco use, and making available information about cessation. Student leadership also conducted surveys, handed out cards showing designated smoking areas, and conducted service projects.

The Tobacco Policy Taskforce was formed in fall 2010 and charged specifically with finding a solution for the tobacco situation on campus. The group worked for several months to gain feedback from the campus community and draft the policy, which then was presented to the Student Senate, faculty shared governance, and representatives of the AFSCME and MAPE unions prior to approval.

This spring and summer, college officials will work to educate current students and employees on the new policy, as well as provide resources for smoking cessation through the college’s Health Service.

To read the policy in its entirety, and review procedures followed, feedback received and research undertaken, visit www.inverhills.edu/StudentResources/CollegePolicies/TobaccoPolicy.aspx