College campuses go smoke-free today under state law

From Illinois Business Journal news services

As of today, July 1, both Lewis and Clark Community College and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville are among higher education institutions following newly effective state law calling for college campuses to be smoke-free.

The Smoke Free Campus Act prohibits smoking and all tobacco-related products on campus.

SIUE is observing the measure at its Edwardsville, East St. Louis and Alton campuses.

“SIUE is ready to comply with state law as of July 1,” said Vice Chancellor for Administration Kenneth Neher. “The Smoke Free Campus Act means that there can be no smoking or tobacco products of any kind on any state-owned university property.”

“The General Assembly finds that tobacco smoke is a harmful and dangerous carcinogen to human beings and a hazard to public health,” said Riane Greenwalt, director of SIUE Health Services. “Secondhand tobacco smoke causes at least 65,000 deaths each year from heart disease and lung cancer according to the National Cancer Institute.

“Secondhand tobacco smoke is the third-leading cause of preventable death in the United States,” Greenwalt continued. “Illinois workers exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke are at an increased risk of premature death. An estimated 2,900 Illinois citizens die each year from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.”

Creating an environment that is tobacco free may start a healthy habit that continues off campus, noted Greenwalt.

“Employees should make an appointment with their primary care provider to discuss smoking cessation therapies,” she said. “Students are encouraged to make an appointment with SIUE Health Service to discuss therapy options.”

To address the implementation of the new law, the state legislature specified that a Smoke Free Task Force be established at all state-supported institutions of higher education as of Dec. 31, 2014, according to the vice chancellor for administration.

“We formed our smoke free task force in October 2014,” Neher added. “It is a 12-member task force with representatives from faculty, staff, students and all three of our campuses. It also included smokers.”

Enforcement of the Smoke Free Campus Act will be determined by the classification of the offender. “Staff and faculty complaints will be handled through the progressive discipline policy of the university,” Neher explained. “Students will be referred to SIUE Student Affairs or University Housing.”

To report any infringements to the Smoke Free Campus Act, an online form can be accessed from the SIUE homepage, effective July 1. Signs denoting that SIUE is smoke free campus will be posted by the same date.

Lewis and Clark Community College is also following the law, it said. Smoking is prohibited indoors and outdoors, as well as in college-owned and private vehicles that are on or driving through campus property.

The college and Lewis and Clark Family Health Clinic are offering information on available resources for those who may be interested in exploring cessation options. Learn more at www.lc.edu/FHC and www.lc.edu/smokefree.

Under the law, “guest” means a visitor to the campus of a state-supported institution of higher education.

“Smoke” or “smoking” means the carrying, smoking, burning, inhaling, or exhaling of any kind of lighted pipe, cigar, cigarette, hookah, weed, herbs, or other lighted smoking equipment.

“Smoke” or “smoking” also includes products containing or delivering nicotine intended or expected for human consumption, or any part of such a product.

 

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