In a move that directly aligns with the mission of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, Oregon State University administrators implemented a new smoke-free policy on the Corvallis campus, effective Sept. 1.
Stacey Edwards, who received her master’s degree in Public Health and is currently a doctoral student in Health Policy within the college, was one of the driving forces behind turning the idea into policy.
“I think by and large in America we know that smoking inside is detrimental,” Edwards says, “but what we have failed to really look at until very recently is the effect of environmental tobacco smoke, or what we call secondhand smoke, outdoors.”
Edwards says new research shows that smoking outside doesn’t dissipate as quickly as many think, and being in a proximity of 50 feet or so of people who are smoking does expose others to carcinogens and toxins.
“We had a campus where we were exposing bystanders to environmental tobacco smoke, most of the time not by their choice, and people were very concerned about being exposed to something that’s a Class A carcinogen we know causes cancer,” Edwards says.
The policy bans all forms of smoking on campus including cigarettes, hookah, cigars, pipes, etc., but still allows smokeless tobacco products like chew.
“Policies like this where they restrict use tend to be very effective as far as people not initiating tobacco use in the first place, or incentivizes them to want to quit because of the inconvenience of not being able to smoke on campus,” Edwards says. “The long-term goal is to decrease tobacco use and then also reduce healthcare costs.”
If you are interested in quitting or need help managing your cravings, there are several support services at Oregon State for faculty, staff and students. Visit smoke-free OSU site for more information.