Seminole State College of Florida will become tobacco-free beginning Aug. 26.
The College’s District Board of Trustees voted unanimously April 15 to ban tobacco use on all campuses beginning with the start of the 2013 Fall Term.
“It’s a cultural shift,” says Dr. Joe Sarnovsky, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Seminole State. “But it’s a trend across the country. More and more businesses, colleges and universities are moving in this direction.”
Nationwide, at least 783 colleges and universities have instituted tobacco-free policies, according to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.
As a result of the board’s vote to approve the tobacco-free college policy, the College’s Tobacco-Free Committee will begin developing implementation policies.
“The intent is not to penalize but to educate,” says Dr. Claudia Salvano, director of Policy and Labor Relations and chair of the committee. “Seminole State is committed to the health and wellness of our faculty, staff and students.”
Forums were held this semester on all four Seminole State campuses, and there was broad consensus that the move to a tobacco-free policy was the right one, Salvano says. “The main concern of some students and staff members was whether the College is going to offer resources to help them quit smoking, and the answer is yes.”
Salvano says her committee will draft a procedure this summer that addresses enforcement of the policy, with an emphasis on advising, counseling and educating. The committee also will explore possible collaboration with a wellness group to provide information and tools related to tobacco-cessation.
The policy change comes as the College moves forward with plans to convert building H on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus into a Wellness Center for students, faculty and staff.
“Ideally, we can use this new policy as an opportunity to help people adopt a healthier lifestyle,” Salvano says.
The College’s previous policy, which was adopted in 2006, banned smoking except in designated areas.