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Transylvania University to go tobacco-free August 1

LEXINGTON, Ky.—President Charles L. Shearer announced today that Transylvania University will become a tobacco-free campus beginning August 1.

“We want to provide the healthiest, safest environment that we can for our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” Shearer said.

The new policy will prohibit the use of all types of tobacco, both smoking and smokeless, in all Transylvania buildings and on campus grounds, with the one exception of a small designated smoking area on the southeast corner of the residential side of campus.

Transylvania’s current tobacco policy bans smoking in all of its buildings and within 20 feet from entrances and walkways.

“While our new policy may be difficult for some, we believe it is the right and best policy for the well-being of all who live and work at Transylvania,” Shearer said. “We are putting the health of our students and employees first by providing a tobacco-free environment and virtually eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke.”

The idea was first proposed in early 2009 by Ashley Hinton-Moncer, director of fitness and wellness. Shearer appointed the Tobacco-Free Workplace Advisory Committee, chaired by Hinton-Moncer and consisting of five staff members, two faculty members and two students. Two of the eight members were smokers. The committee conducted a campus-wide survey, set up a Facebook discussion page, held two forums asking the community for its input, then presented several options to Shearer. With the support of his senior staff, Shearer adopted the policy of going tobacco free, with the exception of one smoking area.

“The wellness committee has wanted to see this happen for a while,” said Hinton. “We work with our students and employees to help them stop smoking, but it’s hard to stop when they can smoke all day long.  Even if they don’t stop smoking, less cigarette smoke can create a lot of significant health gains.”

Signs announcing Transylvania’s tobacco-free policy will be displayed on campus and a “Transylvania is Tobacco-free” Web page with the policy, answers to frequently asked questions and resources will be posted on the university’s Web site.

5/12/2010

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