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First in state
WSU Spokane campus goes tobacco free on May 1
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
By Judith Van Dongen, WSU Spokane
SPOKANE, Wash. - Starting today, Washington State University’s Riverpoint Campus will be officially tobacco free, both indoors and out.
The policy expands the tobacco-free area mandated by the Washington Clean Indoor Act to include all campus grounds and state-owned vehicles and equipment. The act prohibits smoking in public buildings and places of employment, as well as within 25 feet of doors, windows and ventilation intakes.
Riverpoint will be the first four-year public university campus in Washington to be 100 percent tobacco free.
"It's important to us to establish a campus culture that supports health in all aspects as an expression of our values," said WSU Spokane chancellor Brian Pitcher. "This policy just made sense, particularly given the important research by John Roll and others (at WSU Spokane) in addictions.
"We're proud to establish WSU Spokane as a statewide leader and thank the students for bringing the initiative forward," he said.
The all-campus tobacco-free measure was proposed last spring by the student senate of the Associated Students of WSU (ASWSU) Spokane.
"We wanted to foster a culture of healthy living and positive health practices," said Trevor McLay, ASWSU Spokane vice president. "As students of a variety of health care professions, we felt this campus could lead the way in making this positive and beneficial change."
To start the process, student senate members conducted a survey among students on their support for the measure, including an opportunity to comment. McLay said that, of the 189 students who responded to the survey, close to 88 percent supported implementing a tobacco-free campus policy. Based on the survey data, the student senate drafted a resolution outlining the reasons for the proposed initiative and voted to pass it in April 2011.
In December 2011, campus leadership approved the final policy. It was drafted by a Tobacco-Free Campus Task Force consisting of students, faculty and staff, including representation from campus partner Eastern Washington University.
"Cooperation with all parties was a focal point in considering how best to move forward with these changes," said McLay. "One of our main concerns in this process has been ensuring fair and complete communications to all students, faculty and staff about the change taking place at Riverpoint."
More information on the policy, including an interactive map of the tobacco-free boundaries, is available here.