Penn State

Penn State's campuses are going tobacco, smoke-free

Penn State freshman Ross Dauby smokes a cigarette Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, outside the HUB-Robeson Center at Penn State. The university announced Thursday that it will become tobacco and smoke-free at all its campuses starting in the fall.
Penn State freshman Ross Dauby smokes a cigarette Monday, Nov. 6, 2017, outside the HUB-Robeson Center at Penn State. The university announced Thursday that it will become tobacco and smoke-free at all its campuses starting in the fall. Centre Daily Times, file

Penn State will make the move this fall to become tobacco and smoke-free across all of its campuses.

According to a university press release, the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, all nicotine delivery devices and other tobacco products will be prohibited across all Penn State-owned or leased properties, facilities and vehicles.

"The health of our faculty, staff and students is a top priority for the University, and this is an important step toward providing a safe and clean learning and working environment," President Eric Barron said in the release. "I am pleased to announce this policy change, which was a true collaboration and recommendation from our students, faculty, staff and administration."

The decision comes as part of the university's strategic priority to enhance health and wellness, the release said. Penn State will be the 11th school in the Big Ten to implement this type of policy.

The policy aims to allow nonsmokers to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke, while providing support for current smokers and tobacco users who may be trying to quit, the release said.

According to the release, the University Park Undergraduate Association surveyed the University Park student population regarding opinions about smoking and tobacco use, which resulted in a report that was presented to Barron in 2016. The university later formed a task force, which made a final recommendation on going smoke-free in fall 2017.

There are some exceptions in the new policy, though.

Tobacco use for cultural or religious practices, theatrical performances and research will be exempt, the release said. Additionally, the policy won't apply to Penn State employees currently represented by unions.

"According to the World Health Organization, cigarette smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable disease and premature death worldwide," Linda LaSalle, director of Health Promotion and Wellness, said in the release. "This policy is an example of the University’s commitment to promote healthy behaviors and advocate for improvements in the overall wellness for all community members and for those visiting our campuses."

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