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University of Iowa News Release

 

Feb. 4, 2008

UI President Sally Mason approves campus-wide, smoke-free policy

University of Iowa President Sally Mason today approved a policy making the UI campus entirely smoke-free by July 1, 2009. The policy does not take effect until 2009 to allow the UI to accommodate the needs of students, staff and faculty who currently smoke.

"A smoke-free campus will provide a healthier environment for employees, students, and other constituents," Mason says. "I believe, as well, that a smoke-free environment can play an important role, along with other important support mechanisms, in helping smokers escape nicotine addiction. I expect that this action will contribute to lower health care costs and increased employee productivity across the university."

Recognizing that the change will be difficult for employees and students, Mason said the university will use the 17 months before the policy takes effect to ensure that all employees and students have access to smoking cessation programs and services at no cost or at sharply discounted rates. "I will be appointing a team to implement this policy," Mason said, "and the first task of that team will be to ensure that we are taking every step we can to help smokers quit."

The new smoking policy was developed by a Smoking Policy Review Team, headed by Susan Buckley, associate vice president for finance and university services and director of human resources; Susan Johnson, associate provost; and Joni Troester, director of UI Wellness. The team consulted broadly across the university with students, staff and faculty.

"I am grateful to the review team, and the ad hoc committee that initially recommended a move to a smoke-free campus, for their hard work on this issue, Mason said. "I am especially pleased that the review team consulted widely before making its recommendations.

"Though not everyone agrees with the review team's recommendations, it is clear to me that those recommendations were the product of a process that reflected the best traditions of shared governance at the university," Mason says.

For staff and faculty, UI Wellness offers a range of opportunities for smokers, including smoking cessation classes and reimbursement of up to $300 for nicotine replacement or prescription drugs to aid them in quitting smoking. For details visit the UI Wellness Web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/hr/oe/worklife/wellness/.

For students who smoke or chew tobacco, Health Iowa offers a free tobacco cessation program that includes counseling and various therapy products. For smoking cessation resources and frequently asked questions, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~shs/health_iowa/substance_abuse/index.shtml.

Current UI policy prohibits smoking in and around all UI buildings, as well as everywhere on the UI health campus west of the Iowa River.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Jon Carlson, Office of the President, 319-335-1759, jonathan-c-carlson@uiowa.edu; Charles S. Drum, University News Services, 319-384-0048, charles-drum@uiowa.edu