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April 25, 2012
As we all know from widely publicized scientific reports, tobacco use results in significant adverse health effects. As part of our wellness initiatives, Colby offers programs to enable and encourage faculty and staff who currently use tobacco to cease doing so. At several recent public meetings, I have noted my desire to reinforce our wellness initiatives and to move toward a tobacco-free campus. I believe this latter step is critical to providing a healthy, comfortable, and productive work and study environment for all faculty, staff, and students.
The College has moved gradually from an entirely permissive approach to the sale and use of tobacco products and smoking in the 1980s to the much more restrictive current policy of prohibiting smoking in College buildings and vehicles and within 25 feet of building entrances. The next logical step is to extend a smoking prohibition to the entire campus and to include smokeless tobacco within the campus ban.
Effective September 1, 2012, Colby will begin the transition to a tobacco-free campus, with full implementation expected by August 2013. The purpose of our tobacco-free policy is to reduce harm from tobacco use and secondhand smoke, provide an environment that encourages persons to be tobacco free, reduce health care costs, and promote a campus culture of wellness. The full policy will be posted on the Colby Wellness website along with more information: look for future announcements from the Wellness Working Group.
Many of us have a deep personal understanding of the addictive nature of tobacco products, and we realize that it is crucial to offer support to tobacco users during this transition. We will make available a variety of educational resources through CIGNA, the Maine General Health Network, Healthy Maine Partnerships, the Maine Lung Association and others. During this phase of implementation, we will temporarily offer a limited number of designated smoking areas and will periodically review these areas.
Colby will be joining a large and rapidly growing number of colleges and universities that have become tobacco free. However, the success of this policy depends on the thoughtfulness, respect, and cooperation of everyone in the Colby community. All faculty members, staff, and students share the responsibility of following and enforcing this policy. I look forward to working with you as ours becomes a tobacco-free campus.
William D. Adams