UCR clears the air about smoke-free policy

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Brandy Coats/HIGHLANDER
Brandy Coats/HIGHLANDER

Beginning Jan. 2, 2014, UCR will implement the campus-wide policy of maintaining a nicotine-free environment, which will apply to all students, faculty members, staff, contractors and visitors.

The new policy bans the use of cigarettes, tobacco, electronic-cigarettes, unregulated nicotine and other smokeless tobacco products such as chewing tobacco on campus. Partial exemptions to the policy will be granted for research, educational or clinical purposes and traditional ceremonies of cultural and religious groups. It will be regulated upon all university-controlled property, including land, buildings, parking lots and private residential space owned by the UC.

“Through the authority provided in California Gov. Code 7597.1, the governing bodies of the University of California have the authority, in establishing policy for smoking and tobacco use, to set enforcement standards at local campuses,” reads the policy.

While there is not yet a monolithic set of punishments for those breaking the policy, UCR offers assistance to smokers who may need help in making the transition. Those wishing to cease smoking may go to the Student Health Services is located in Veitch Student Center, which is adjacent to Lot 15, between the residence halls and the main part of campus.

Free, on-campus services will include an in-person, phone or email consultation to judge an individual’s readiness to quit or a seven-week group session support scheduled at one’s own convenience.

UCR also held campus programs such as “Cleaning the Air Expo,” which gave students the opportunity to hear about the latest smoking research by UCR faculty.

On Nov. 21, the Health Center will host the “Great American Smokeout Mock Funeral” at the Bell Tower from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., during which a casket will travel from Coffee Bean to the Bell Tower for a silent funeral procession. A giant cigarette will then be thrown into the casket, symbolizing both the school’s commitment to being tobacco-free and reminding people of the possible life-threatening effects of smoking cigarettes.

“If just one person gives up smoking as a result of our efforts, then this will be considered a success,” said Dr. Ken Stewart of the UCR Student Health Center.

Those seeking more information on the UC smoke-free policy can visit the UCR Tobacco Free website. Information on the campus health center can be found at wellness.ucr.edu.

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