November 17th, 2010 | by Jason Slotkin News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Schools

Ducks Aim to Have Smoke-free Campus by Fall 2012

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If all goes according to plan, fall 2012 will bring the University of Oregon a smoke-free campus.

The university announced today that, with the aid of a $1 million donation from PacificSource Health Plans, it is kicking off a campaign to get its smoking students, faculty, and staff to kick their habit. According to a news release from the school, students can trade packs of cigarettes for acupuncture and massage sessions today and tomorrow. And the college will also offer smoking-cessation products and services between now and fall 2012.

If successful, the college says it will be among nearly 450 smokefree campuses [PDF] nationwide—including OHSU and Portland Community College and Pacific University in Oregon.

Here's the entire press release:


The University of Oregon is going tobacco free and will offer students, faculty and staff smoking cessation assistance during the transition. The UO is the first university in the Pac-10 to announce intentions to be smoke and tobacco free.

During a campus event today, Senior Vice President and Provost Jim Bean announced that the change will go into effect by fall 2012. He also announced an important $1 million gift that will fund smoking cessation programs and other health-related programs.

"We have the obligation to provide a healthy, smoke and tobacco-free environment for our students, employees and visitors," said Bean. "This is a great statement about our commitment to a healthy campus."

The decision was made to reduce the risks of second-hand smoke exposure and to provide a healthier environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors. Amelie Rousseau, president of the Associated Students of the University of Oregon, in collaboration with University Health Center staff, led efforts this fall to persuade administrators that now is the time to act.

"I am excited for this opportunity for students and the university to work together to make campus a healthier and more accessible place," said Rousseau. "A tobacco-free campus is a huge victory for students, faculty and staff."

"I applaud Amelie and our students for their leadership, and I want to thank everyone who helped make this a reality," said UO President Richard Lariviere in a prepared statement read at the announcement. "We're sending a powerful message today that when you come on this campus, you join a community committed to mind and body."

During the transition period, the UO will provide students, faculty and staff with support if they choose to stop using tobacco products. Support will include free nicotine replacement products and cessation counseling. The campaign kicks off today and tomorrow with free massage and acupuncture from community volunteers in exchange for a pack of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco tossed in the trash can between noon and 2 p.m. The Student Health Advisory Committee and Peer Health Educators will also provide information, quit kits and support to students.

The announcement follows the recent launch of the Healthy Campus Initiative to improve the health of the overall community. The program will promote a balanced lifestyle, physical and mental health, and will encourage students, faculty and staff to make positive choices. At today's announcement, Provost Bean also announced a $1 million gift from PacificSource to the Healthy Campus Initiative.

PacificSource is committing $4 million over the next five years toward a community health initiative for Oregonians. In partnership with the UO and Oregon State University, the insurer will fund wellness research, healthy campus initiatives and a Civil War Series sponsorship as a platform for community outreach. At UO, the $1 million gift will promote exercise, healthy nutrition and tobacco cessation.

"We're pleased to support the University of Oregon as we collaborate to develop wellness practices that will positively impact all Oregonians," said Ken Provencher, president and CEO of PacificSource Health Plans. "The information we learn from the Healthy Campus Initiative will ultimately help us create healthier communities for everyone."

A search is currently in process to hire a director for the UO Healthy Campus Initiative. The position is expected to be filled in early 2011.
 
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