Tobacco Free USC

University of South Carolina considering completely tobacco-free campus
December 4, 2012
 

The University of South Carolina has assembled a task force to study the university’s tobacco-free policy and determine whether it should be revised to cover the entire campus. The group, composed of students, faculty and staff, will examine the effects of becoming a completely tobacco-free campus, consider proposals for implementation and enforcement and ensure that ample tobacco-cessation resources are available.

Carolina’s current policy prohibits the use of tobacco in and within 25 feet of university-owned and -leased buildings, vehicles and other property.

“When we adopted a policy in 2006 to prohibit tobacco use in and around university buildings and other property, we also indicated a desire to expand that policy campus wide,” President Harris Pastides said. “It is time for our core constituents to fully consider all issues relative to a completely tobacco-free campus and to advise me on the path forward.”

If the university elects to become completely tobacco-free, Carolina would join more than 600 colleges across the country with similar policies designed to protect the health and well-being of their students, employees and visitors.

“The ultimate goal of having a tobacco-free campus is to improve health, not only for those who use tobacco but for those exposed to tobacco,” Healthy Carolina Director Jessica Johnston said. “Research shows that implementing a tobacco-free policy decreases tobacco use and positively influences perceptions of peer tobacco use. Studies also show that where these policies have been implemented there were significantly reduced hospitalizations for heart attacks, strokes and asthma. We want to help those who currently use tobacco, so any consideration of a tobacco-free campus policy will require offering the best resources available.”

Johnston chairs the task force, which is divided into subcommittees to address signage, enforcement, communications and cessation resources and programs.

The group already has sought input from many student and employee groups, as well as individuals. All members of the Carolina community are invited to ask questions or offer suggestions by emailing tobaccofree@sc.edu. The task force also is working with Student Government, which plans to host a January town forum, which will be open to all Carolina students, faculty and staff.