Edmonds Community College will be a tobacco- and smoke-free campus as of Sept. 11. Joining a growing number of colleges in Washington state that are prohibiting smoking and the use of tobacco products, Edmonds CC’s new policy and procedure are intended to promote a healthy educational and work environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
“Our new policy demonstrates our commitment to supporting a healthy, caring, and sustainable campus and community by promoting the holistic health and wellness of all members of the Edmonds CC community,” said Edmonds CC President Dr. Jean Hernandez.
After much consideration, the Edmonds CC Board of Trustees approved the college’s Tobacco and Smoke-Free Campus policy and procedure this summer.
The college began considering taking action on its tobacco use policy several years ago, and picked up momentum last fall. It conducted a second tobacco use survey (the first was done in 2011), held three open forums and formed an advisory committee.
The survey had 757 complete responses and received more than 1,000 comments. A majority of those who do not currently use tobacco (64 percent) said the college should be smoke-free, while 90 percent of current users were against a tobacco and smoke-free policy.
In October, the board also heard from Snohomish Health District’s executive director Dr. Gary Goldbaum, M.D., who said the college has an obligation to ensure that its friends, family, students and employees have an opportunity to live a healthy life.
“Tobacco targets the most vulnerable, lower-income, and less-educated population,” Goldbaum said. “By normalizing the behavior, it facilitates the initiation of smoking to our most vulnerable population.”
According to the Washington State Department of Health, the health consequences and costs of tobacco hit some groups harder and creates health disparities. Its website, doh.wa.gov, also states that tobacco is associated with six out of 10 leading causes of death in Washington, including cancer, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, diabetes, among others.
“As a college, we are committed to ensuring each of our students, employees, and community members have the opportunity to learn, work, and thrive on campus and in the broader community,” said Carl Zapora, Edmonds CC trustee and former CEO of Snohomish County’s Public Hospital District No. 2. “We’re fulfilling our commitment to provide a healthy environment where that’s possible by becoming a tobacco and smoke-free campus.”
What you need to know:
– Use, distribution, or sale of any tobacco products is prohibited on and within all Edmonds CC owned, leased, or managed property.
– Edmonds CC properties include all college sidewalks, facilities, landscaped areas, sports fields/recreational areas, college buildings, and state-owned vehicles.
– Prohibited tobacco products include cigarettes, cigars, pipes, all forms of smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes, and any other smoking devices such as hookahs, e-cigarettes, and vape pens.
– FDA-approved tobacco cessation products, including gum, patches, lozenges, etc., are allowed on campus.
– Campus Safety and Security officers will issue policy “reminder” cards to those who are observed using prohibited tobacco products.
– If you witness someone using tobacco products on campus, use courtesy and consideration when informing them of the college’s new policy.
The policy is not meant to be punitive. This year, the college is working toward encouraging everyone to follow the policy and procedure; however, if there is an increase in violations over time, it might move toward a stricter policy in fall 2018.
Edmonds CC recognizes that quitting tobacco use is a personal choice and can be a significant challenge. The college is committed to assisting its community members in their efforts to quit, and will provide a list of resources through its Wellness Center located in Lynnwood Hall, room 236.