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College of Public Health

ETSU to become Tobacco-Free Campus

Monday, February 11, 2008

JOHNSON CITY – A campuswide message today from East Tennessee State University President Dr. Paul E. Stanton Jr. announces that ETSU is expanding its current Smoking and Tobacco-Free Workplace Policy, established in 1997, to limit all use of tobacco products to private vehicles.

Stanton said, “In recognition of our commitment to provide for everyone a clean, healthy environment conducive to working, learning and living, East Tennessee State University will officially become a ‘Tobacco-Free Campus’ on Aug. 11, 2008, six months from today. Smoking and all other tobacco usage will be permitted only in private vehicles.”

Reiterating what he initially noted more than a decade ago, Stanton pointed out that ETSU is the flagship health sciences university in the entire Tennessee Board of Regents system, and, as such, the issue of tobacco use has even more significance.

“We set an example for the rest of the state in 1997 by banning the use of tobacco in all university buildings,” Stanton said. “Revising our policy to reflect increasing health concerns about smoking and the use of other tobacco products is an appropriate response for ETSU regarding these ongoing issues.”

The university began the process of strengthening its policy at the behest of the ETSU Faculty and Staff senates, as well as other personnel and students. The Tobacco-Free Campus Policy addresses expressed concerns regarding personal health issues and campus environmental aesthetics, and further notes that “failure to address the use of tobacco products on campus would constitute a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Vocational Rehabilitation Act and Tennessee law.”

ETSU is sensitive to the importance of tobacco in the Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina region, and Stanton said he is confident that researchers will continue to explore alternative uses of tobacco that would benefit the economy and health care. For example, such beneficial uses might include vitamins and other pharmaceuticals.

The Tobacco-Free Campus Policy is in effect 24 hours a day year-round and applies to the main campus in Johnson City as well as all other university sites, ETSU-affiliated off-campus locations and clinics, and ETSU facilities on the campus of the James H. Quillen Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home. Tobacco use is also prohibited in all state vehicles.

Over the next several months, the university will post signs and banners to ensure that visitors and members of the ETSU community are aware of the Tobacco-Free Campus Policy and the restriction to private vehicles.

Stanton said, “And, in understanding the addictive nature of tobacco products, we are offering current information about available resources for the benefit of persons who wish to stop using tobacco, at www.etsu.edu/humanres/smokingcessationresources.htm.”


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