Penn State

Student ambassadors to help education effort on new tobacco-free Penn State policy

Penn State is now a smoke- and tobacco-free campus.
Penn State is now a smoke- and tobacco-free campus. Centre Daily Times, file

Penn State is officially a tobacco- and smoke-free campus, and the university is seeking student ambassadors to help educate individuals about the policy.

The university announced in April that it would become the 11th Big Ten school to prohibit the use of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, all nicotine delivery devices and other tobacco products across all Penn State-owned or leased, properties, facilities and vehicles.

“The success of this policy depends upon obtaining and maintaining the willingness, understanding and cooperation of all tobacco and non-tobacco users at all university locations,” Penn State said in a statement. “It is the responsibility of all members of the Penn State community to establish and maintain smoke-free/tobacco free campus environments. Each university member is responsible for monitoring compliance with this policy at his/her level of involvement in the university community.”

The updated policy went into effect this fall.

Penn State implemented the policy “because it supports the health of all community members, including faculty, staff and students, and is committed to providing a safe and clean learning and work environment,” Linda LaSalle, director of Health Promotion and Wellness, said.

Health Promotion and Wellness and the University Park Undergraduate Association are collaborating on the Tobacco-Free Campus Ambassadors program.

“The ambassador program will help benefit students at the University by educating them on the new policy and by providing resources that can help them quit the habit of smoking,” Liza Buschinski, UPUA communications director, said in an email.

According to a university press release, the role of the student ambassadors will include approaching individuals using tobacco products on campus to educate them on the new policy; participating in tobacco litter clean-up work; and providing information about the resources available to help individuals quit or reduce their smoking.

Buschinski said UPUA is helping to host the tobacco-free HUB takeover on Thursday, during which they’ll be handing out resources and applications to sign up for the ambassador program.

There are several exceptions to the policy, including smoking and tobacco use for the purpose of research or cultural or religious practices; and smoking and tobacco use in personal vehicles on Penn State property. Additionally, the policy won’t be enforced against Penn State employees who are represented by unions.