As an institute of higher learning, Colby has an obligation, and it is our honor, to provide a healthy atmosphere for students, faculty, staff, and visitors we welcome onto our campus. Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, and Surgeon General’s reports in 2006 and 2010 emphasized that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Q: Why should Colby become a tobacco-free campus?
A: Colby has a responsibility to its students, faculty, and staff to provide a safe and healthy environment. Research shows that tobacco use in general constitutes a significant health hazard and that secondhand smoke endangers nonsmokers.
Q: When does the tobacco-free-campus policy go into effect?
A: The first stage of the tobacco-free policy will commence Sept. 1, 2012. This consists of limiting the areas where tobacco use is permissible.
Q: To whom does the tobacco-free policy apply?
A: The policy applies to anyone who is on the Colby College campus, including faculty, staff, students, contractors, vendors, volunteers, and visitors.
Q: Does the tobacco-free campus apply to smokeless tobacco products?
A: Yes, it applies to all tobacco and smoking products, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, snuff, chewing tobacco, snus, and non-FDA-approved nicotine delivery services such as e-cigarettes.
Q: Where does the tobacco-free policy apply?
A: As of Sept. 1, 2012, the use of tobacco is prohibited throughout the Colby campus, with the exception of designated smoking areas. As of Sept. 1, 2013, the temporary smoking areas will end. Prohibited areas also include parking areas, athletic fields, and arenas. The policy also applies to Colby vehicles and off-campus Colby property not otherwise leased to another organization. Personal, private, leased, or borrowed vehicles not owned by the College, when on the Colby campus, are also prohibited areas for tobacco use.
Q: Isn’t this a violation of individual and civil rights?
A: No. Maine state law already requires Colby to provide a smoke-free environment inside buildings and at least 20 feet outside any building. Colby is permitted and has elected to go above the minimum requirement to include all the areas noted above.
Q: What resources are available to help those who would like to quit using tobacco?
A: A variety of helpful links are listed on the Human Resources Tobacco Cessation webpage.
Q: How is the policy being communicated to campus constituents and visitors?
A: Most of our communication will be through Colby’s official or general announcements. Supplemental signage and posters may be distributed, and other information may be posted online.
Q: How is the policy being enforced?
A: The success of this policy depends upon the thoughtfulness, respect, and cooperation of everyone. All faculty members, staff members, and students share the responsibility of following and enforcing the policy. In particular, each supervisor is responsible for ensuring his or her team members are educated about and comply with this policy. During the implementation year, our approach will be focused on education and support. The College will examine the results of expected compliance during the first year to help determine next steps. Any issues should be referred to the appropriate supervisor.
Q: What should I do if I see someone smoking or using another type of tobacco product in a non-designated area?
A: Ideally, you will be comfortable reminding the person about the policy. If you prefer, you may contact your supervisor or the person’s supervisor.
Q: President Adams refers to a staged approach to implementing the tobacco-free-campus policy. After the first year (Sept. 1, 2012 to August 2013), will the College revisit the idea of going tobacco-free and possibly overturn the policy?
A: During the 2012-13 academic year, we will evaluate how successful compliance has been and what additional measures may be needed to ensure that the campus is completely tobacco-free by Sept. 1, 2013. It is not intended to be a period in which we determine whether or not the policy will be extended.
Q: Are there any changes to existing break policies to allow tobacco users to go off campus to use these products?
A: No. Employees will continue to get the same breaks and meal periods currently in effect, unless approved by their supervisor.
Q: How should supervisors discuss this new policy with employees?
A: Periodic reminders during scheduled team meetings and at key implementation times will be important. Supervisors are encouraged to communicate Colby’s tobacco cessation assistance opportunities to team members.
Q: Do I have to quit smoking or stop using tobacco to live/work/study at Colby?
A: The tobacco-free policy is not requiring tobacco users to quit but is more about maintaining a healthy environment and eliminating exposure to tobacco and secondhand smoke.
Q: How much will Colby save on health insurance for implementing this policy?
A: There are no immediate savings from implementing this policy. We do hope this policy and ongoing wellness programs help our employees reduce health risks. That may help prevent long-term insurance rates from increasing at the alarming rate they have in recent years.
Q: What other colleges and universities are tobacco-free?
A: More than 500 other colleges and universities prohibit the use of tobacco on their campuses. A list is available at http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/smokefreecollegesuniversities.pdf