The campuses of Pasco-Hernando State College will become smoke-free and tobacco-free zones effective Aug. 14, 2017.
The college’s District Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Nov. 15 to expand an existing policy that prohibits smoking in college buildings and “workplace” areas, but allows smoking in designated areas.
That means smoking and other forms of tobacco will be banned entirely on the college’s campuses, said Courtney Boettcher, assistant director of marketing and communications at PHSC.
The no-smoking, no-tobacco rule will apply to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, E-cigarettes and any vaporizing devices, such as hookah pipes. Snuff and chewing tobacco also will be prohibited. The rule applies to students, faculty, visitors, vendors and others who come on campus.
Trustees approved the campus-wide ban “to promote the health and wellness of its students and employees, as well as a safe, comfortable environment for all who work, study, conduct business, or visit the college,” according to college documents.
The coverage area includes all properties leased and owned by the college. The college’s fleet of vehicles also will be smoke-free and tobacco-free, whether on or off campus.
The ban goes along with a national trend among colleges and universities to create smoke-free and tobacco-free campuses.
Hillsborough Community College also has such a policy, and the University of South Florida adopted a no smoking policy in January 2016.
In 2011, there were more than 580 smoke-free colleges and universities in the nation, according to the Association for Nonsmokers Rights.
As of October 2016, the nonprofit reported more than 1,700 schools with smoking and tobacco bans.
About 1,400 of that total includes schools that also ban tobacco use of any kind, and more than 1,200 that ban E-cigarettes.
Officials at PHSC will help ease people into the new policy.
During the transition, an ad hoc committee of students, faculty, staff and administrators will help spread the word on the tougher policy.
Free smoking cessation programs also will be available before and after the transition for students, faculty, staff members and other employees.
Published January 4, 2017