Monday, January 26, 2015

UIS announces new tobacco-free campus policy

In preparation for a new state law banning smoking on all college and university campuses in Illinois, the University of Illinois Springfield is taking steps to promote the health, well-being and safety of all students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

On January 26, 2015 Chancellor Susan J. Koch announced a two-year phased in tobacco-free policy for the UIS campus. The policy goes a step beyond the state law by not only banning cigarettes, but smokeless tobacco products such as chew.

The UIS policy and procedures was drafted by an implementation team led by UIS Senior Director of Human Resources Laura Alexander.

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.

In implementing a tobacco-free policy, UIS joins almost 1,500 other colleges and universities across the United States that have gone “smoke free”, including the University of Illinois campuses in Champaign-Urbana and Chicago.

“Our providing a tobacco-free campus 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,” said Koch. “It will also create a cleaner and safer campus.”

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.

“We obviously respect everyone’s personal decision to choose what is best for them,” said Koch. “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.”

Free tobacco cessation resources are available to UIS students and employees through the American Lung Association’s Illinois Tobacco Quitline by calling 1-866-QUIT-YES. The Quitline provides tobacco cessation counseling and other information to 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 on their website at www.lungil.org.

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