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SU announces plans to become a tobacco-free campus starting in July 2015

Syracuse University will become a tobacco-free campus on July 1, 2015, according to an email sent to the campus community Tuesday afternoon.

The university will begin a phased approach to implement a tobacco-free campus for the 2015–16 academic year, according to the email. By July 1, 2015, tobacco products or any products simulating tobacco smoking will be banned on campus, including outdoor spaces. All locations owned or leased by SU in the United States will enforce the policy, with the exception of the Carrier Dome, the Sheraton Hotel, Drumlins and Syracuse Stage. All SU-owned property, include international property, is expected to fully adopt the policy by 2017, according to the email.

The tobacco ban also includes the ban of tobacco industry sponsored events both on and off campus. The advertising, marketing, distribution and promotion of any tobacco product are also prohibited from any property owned, controlled or operated by SU.

The email included an attachment of the draft version of the policy. In the drafted policy, it stated that there will be four phases toward implementing a completely smoke and tobacco-free campus.

Phase One includes an ongoing effort to educate the campus about the policy and how it will be implemented. The first phase will also include offering increased services to help students, faculty and staff quit using tobacco products. Phase Two will include implementing the policy for the SU grounds, facilities and locations affected by the July 1, 2015 date. Phase Three will include the phased implementation of the policy for the Dome, Sheraton Hotel, Drumlins and Syracuse Stage by 2017. But event attendees in the parking lot outside of the Dome will still be exempt from the policy. The fourth and final phase of the policy will be to consider the feasibility of applying the policy on SU’s international campuses.

There may be an exemption from the tobacco-free policy for research purposes, so long as it follows SU’s policies on research, health and safety. Community members can use tobacco for educational, religious, clinical, artistic or ceremonial purposes with prior approval from the appropriate administrator or facility manager and a University fire/safety officer for smoking purposes, according to the draft policy.

Faculty, staff and students who violate the tobacco-free policy are subject to disciplinary action by the university. Visitors and alumni who violate the policy and refuse to comply may be asked to leave campus.

In the next eight months, SU will hold several events for the policy’s first phase to educate the campus and help community members quit tobacco before July 2015.

Some of the upcoming resources include a tobacco-free campus website that will provide more details about the policy, a map of campus, frequently asked questions, a fact sheet on prohibited items and an opportunity to provide feedback on the policy.

Before July 2015 there will be information sessions for students, faculty and staff to discuss the policy and current implementation plan. There will also be a student-led activity for the entire campus community and there will be events to celebrate the Great American Smoke-Out, an annual event put on by the American Cancer Society, on Nov. 20.

Free support groups to help students, faculty and staff quit smoking will be offered starting January 2015. The support groups will last six weeks for those who would like to quit tobacco use before the policy is implemented in July 2015.

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