By Natasha Brown
In an attempt to improve the health of the Lewis & Clark community and comply with new Oregon Senate Bill 754, LC’s administration announced the new “Smoke and Tobacco Free Community Policy” on June 25, 2018.
The policy states that all tobacco products are banned from being used on campus, providing that they are not sold for the sole purpose of quitting tobacco use (i.e., nicotine gum or patches.) Significantly, all designated smoking areas (DSAs) have been removed from campus. The policy went into effect Aug. 1.
Last year, Bill 754 made the purchase of tobacco products illegal to those under 21. This led to the new campus policy.
Interim Dean of Students Andrew McPheeters expanded on the reason behind the change over email.
“My understanding is our research showed that the DSA’s served as social centers that were actually encouraging new students to smoke,” McPheeters said. “We were growing our smoking population. We are certainly concerned about the health impact of tobacco.”
The announcement caused quite a stir among students, and many have strong feelings regarding the policy. A main concern for both students and administrators is where students who do not quit will decide to smoke.
The administration has expressed worry that students will resort to smoking in the neighborhood surrounding LC.
“One concern we currently have is neighbors are frustrated that students are going on or next to their property and littering with their butts, causing them frustration and concern about the potential for fire,” McPheeters said.
LC students have varying views on the policy and how it will affect campus life. When asked what her opinion regarding the policy is, sophomore Marian Hampe ’21 expressed concern about how this policy will affect the campus’ and surrounding neighborhood’s physical environment.
“The main concern I have is around the general disposal of cigarette butts,” Hampe said. “With the DSAs, there were ash trays and bins… I never saw a cigarette butt anywhere else on campus. Now, I see them lining the side of the road and piling up at the bus stops.”
With the new smoke-free, tobacco-free policy comes the need for resources for quitting and cutting back on tobacco products. This is where LC’s Health and Wellness department, specifically Health Promotion, comes in.
Associate Director Melissa Osmond explained some of the resources available to students.
“We’re planning on, of there is enough interesting, having a smoking (sic) tobacco cessation support group for students who want to quit, and we’re just asking students if they are interested to call our office and leave their name and contact information and once we have enough students to form an actual group we’ll work to get that started,” Osmond said. “We’ve got someone… waiting to get that group going… Three or more [people] really is enough to start… It will be a way for people to engage with other people who are actively trying to quit to talk about strategy and talk about frustrations.”
Individual appointments with Osmond are also available for students looking to quit. To get in contact with Health and Wellness call (503) 768-8225.