September 11, 2017Vol. 48, Issue 1

No Butts About It

Chico State Benefits from Kicking the Smoke and Tobacco Habit

Light-hearted but temporary signage created by the Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center was displayed all over campus after the smoke- and tobacco-free announcement was made.

Take a whiff. 

You will no longer smell cigarette smoke or flavored vapor filling the air at Chico State because the campus went entirely smoke and tobacco free August 17. Among many other things, this means no smoke polluting the air, no chew spit on the ground, and no vapor from e-cigarettes or hookahs, as well as the opportunity to make healthier choices.

While this new mandate was issued in compliance with the California State University Systemwide Smoke and Tobacco Free Environment Executive Order 1108, it allows the University to further ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for all students, faculty, and staff—and comes with other benefits to boot, even if they are not a breath of fresh air to everyone at first.

“[We] anticipate some pushback,” said Trisha Seastrom, program coordinator at the Campus Alcohol and Drug Education Center (CADEC). “Obviously not everyone will be happy about the [executive order].”

Seastrom said she also expects people to have questions about how the new policy will be enforced. Seastrom assured that for now, enforcement will not be about giving citations or catching someone flicking a Bic with the intent to light up. Instead, it will be focused on health-related education and helping Wildcats make healthy choices that affect everyone.

“The executive order does not outline specifics as it’s related to enforcement,” she said. “So every campus, aside from the ones that had already gone smoke-free, really has to navigate that for themselves.”

“I am hoping the new phrase on campus will be ‘No smoking—it's the Wildcat way!’” —Dr. Deborah Stewart

Departments like CADEC and the Student Health Center are “delighted about the recent smoking ban on the campus,” according to Medical Chief of Staff Dr. Deborah Stewart, because it means more people are likely to utilize the resources both departments have to offer those wanting to kick the habit and learn a healthier way of living.

Stewart noted that recent research, funded by the National Cancer Institute, regarding the efficacy of anti-smoking campaigns on college campuses “showed clearly that the most restrictive smoking policies are associated with the most improvement in nicotine use.”

“Tobacco-free and smoke-free policies on campuses were linked with reduced smoking frequency, reduced exposure to secondhand smoke, and a reduction in pro-smoking attitudes,” Stewart said. “Implementation of a campuswide tobacco-free or smoke-free policy combined with access to smoking cessation services was also associated with increased quit attempts and treatment seeking behaviors.” 

With this new policy—and extensive available research confirming the health risks of tobacco use, secondhand smoke, and personal and medical costs—University and CSU officials hope Wildcats take advantage of the many available programs and services.

CADEC offers many free smoking cessation programs for students, faculty, and staff. Plus, in collaboration with Human Resources, CADEC also has smoking-cessation education programs and counseling that may assist employees who want to quit or even just cut back.

CADEC and the Student Health Center hope students, faculty, and staff will take advantage of their numerous cessation services and programs.

CADEC and the Student Health Center hope students, faculty, and staff will take advantage of their numerous cessation services and programs.

The Student Health Center has additional methods to assist students interested in quitting smoking, Stewart said.

“There are some products at the pharmacy which can be prescribed by the doctors and nurse practitioners at the health center,” she said. “I am hoping the new phrase on campus will be ‘No smoking—it's the Wildcat way!’"

Additionally, Chico State is one of 44 campuses that received a $20,000 grant (dispersed over 18 months) from the American Cancer Society in exchange for the University's commitment to adopting and executing a 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus policy.

In partnership with the CVS Health Foundation, the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative grant—which was applied for before the CSU Executive Order—will aid public health informational campaigns and cessation services, among other advantages.

The new policy is applicable 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to all faculty, staff, students, volunteers, contractors, visitors, and anyone entering onto University-controlled properties. Smoking, using smokeless tobacco products, and using unregulated nicotine products are not allowed indoors or outdoors, including parking lots, sidewalks, and both on- and off-campus University housing grounds, auxiliary-owned, rented, or leased facilities on campus, and at satellite locations, such as the University Farm and the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve.

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