Peer Health moves forward with proposal for campus tobacco ban
By Tessa Kaufman
After the Peer Health organization survey on Feb. 26-27 resulted in 1,381 students voting yes to a tobacco ban and 710 students voting against a tobacco ban, the organization is now organizing a detailed proposal to the chancellor.
“Like we said from the beginning of this process, we understand the issue at hand isn’t one-sided regardless of the overwhelming support to move forward with a tobacco-free UNK,” said Peer Health Education Coordinator Ismael Torres. “We want to be sure to present a clear and accurate picture of both sides and why going tobacco-free would make the most sense.”
UNK is not the only campus that has begun the shift to a tobacco-free campus. Recently, UNO has begun discussions of a smoke-free campus after a dorm fire started by a cigarette.
“We have been in dialogue with them since they began the push and have answered as many questions as possible for them as to how we approached things at UNK,” Torres said.
UNK’s Clean Air Policy currently prohibits tobacco use in UNK facilities or vehicles, and within 10 feet of entrances or work sites on the grounds (in the open air). Similar policies are employed at UNO and UNL, except that UNL has at least two buildings with larger “halos” or smoke-free zones around the entrances. Tobacco-free means no use of tobacco products at all, including chew and snuff in addition to smoked materials.
Currently in Nebraska, Creighton University, Mid-Plains Community College, Nebraska Methodist College, University of Nebraska Medical Center and York College are all tobacco-free campuses. The University of Nebraska Medical Center has been tobacco-free since 2009. Effective Aug. 1, 2014, Northeast Community College in Norfolk will modify it’s smoke-free policy to a tobacco-free policy.
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