Union to go tobacco and smoke-free in 2016

Publication Date

In efforts to maintain a healthy environment for all its students, faculty, staff and visitors, Union College will become a tobacco/smoke-free environment effective July 1, 2016. The College joins more than 70 colleges and universities in New York state that have made the decision to eliminate smoking on their campuses.

The initiative, which is supported by senior staff and the Board of Trustees, bans tobacco use within the buildings and/or on the ground owned or leased by the College. Over the course of the upcoming year, the Task Force for a Tobacco/Smoke-Free Union, a combined student, faculty and staff group, will lead the College’s efforts as it transitions to a tobacco/smoke-free campus. The College’s Planning and Priorities Committee are providing funding for the task force’s activities through Union’s strategic plan implementation grant program.

“Union has a very holistic approach to wellness,” said Rob Kelly, chief of staff and chair of the task force. “Caring for the whole person - mind, body and spirit —is an important part of our strategic plan and the tobacco/smoke-free initiative is an extension of those efforts.”

Currently, all buildings and campus vehicles are non-smoking areas but under the new initiative, the entire campus will be designated tobacco/smoke-free. Areas on campus currently officially or unofficially designated as smoking locations will no longer. Ashtrays will be removed and signage installed reflecting that any and all facilities owned and operated by Union are tobacco/smoke-free environments.

Organizers and attendees at events held in Union facilities - conferences, meetings, public lectures, social and sporting activities - will be required to abide by and enforce the College’s Tobacco Free Policy.

To help members of the Union community quit the habit, the College currently offers a range of cessation programs and education.

For CDPHP members, Union offers programs such as “Get Ready to Quit Smoking” and “The Butt Stops Here.” Members can also talk to a CDPHP health coach about quitting smoking by calling (800) 365-4180 or logging in to the secure member portal at www.cdphp.com.

Students can access smoking cessation resources through the Wicker Wellness Center. The center provides access to aids such as patches, gum, inhalers, Bupropion and Chantix. Pills and inhalers are billed to insurance. Wicker also facilitates the bulk purchase of patches and gum. Students can also get individual and group smoking cessation counseling through the Counseling Center.

For all members of the campus community, other resources include the New York State Smokers’ Quitline, which provides information and support for smoking cessation. For information, call (866) NY-QUITS ((866) 697-8487) or visit their website at www.nysmokefree.com to access resources.

The Tobacco Quitline offers information and counseling both in NYS and nationally. Call (800) QUITNOW ((800) 784-8669) or go to www.smokefree.gov.

Over the course of the next year, the College will provide additional access to cessation aids, including cessation classes and programming.