STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- The University of Wisconsin Stevens Point will become a tobacco free campus in just over a week. The school announced Friday that all campus properties will be affected by the ban beginning August 25th.
Jen Sorenson is the Director of Student Health Services, and is coordinating the efforts leading up to the ban. She says this new policy goes beyond smoking. “It’s not just a no smoking policy, it’s actually a tobacco free policy, so it encompasses all tobacco products including cigarettes and chewing tobacco, as well as e-cigarettes.”
This new policy includes all university buildings and land. Sorenson says it also applies to some outdoor spaces usually considered unenforceable for such bans like municipal sidewalks. “Currently, the policy does encompass any property that’s owned or controlled by UW Stevens Point, and that includes parking lots and sidewalks. Technically, the sidewalks are city owned, but because we do the snow removal and the upkeep on sidewalks, it falls under the control by UW Stevens Point and therefore can be part of the policy.”
Stevens Point is not the first UW campus to go totally tobacco free. Sorenson says they got some help with policy language and implementation issues from the state’s two other campuses already banning tobacco. “UW River Falls and UW Stout have gone tobacco free, so that was very helpful. They gave us a lot of guidance as we moved along in the process.”
The tobacco and e-cigarette ban applies to all students, faculty and staff members, contractors, vendors and visitors during and after campus hours and during all campus events. The only temporary exception to the policy will allow additional implementation time at Treehaven in Tomahawk. There, a designated area for tobacco use will be in place until fall 2015. The additional time for implementation will provide notice to organizations that rent the facility.
Sorenson says there are also programs to help students and staff quit using tobacco, including health care counseling, support groups, and prescription aides like nicotine patches and gums. Students may call Student Health Service at 715-346-4646 for appointments and more information. Faculty and staff may contact their insurance providers or click on "Cessation Resources" at the UW-Stevens Point Tobacco Free website.