On Aug. 1, USF became a completely smoke and tobacco free campus after the tobacco-free campus policy came into effect. Public Safety is aware of the new policy, but students will not be disciplined for violations. Enforcement of this policy is the responsibility of the USF community. Risk Services Manager Melissa Diaz urges the USF community to offer a “gentle reminder” of the new policy to students seen smoking on campus.
Six graduate and undergraduate students will be hired as clean air marshals to encourage peer implementation of the smoke-free policy. Senior communications major Genesis Barraza is an undergraduate clean air marshal, “I decided to join the clean air task force because I fundamentally believe that no one’s recreational activities should endanger the lives of others.” Clean air marshals will be responsible for organizing tabling events and providing resources to students who wish to stop smoking.
Over the first 30 days of classes, Health Promotion Services will be offering tabling sessions, a campus-wide cigarette butt cleanup and a workshop on quitting tobacco as part of their Breathe Easy USF campaign. Through these events, smokers will receive tips and resources to quit smoking.
Natalie Macias, assistant director of Health Promotion Services, is spearheading the Breathe Easy campaign. The campaign aims to create resources for smokers who want to quit. Students will notice the lack of the traditional non-smoking logo which depicts a cigarette with a red circle and a line. “We wanted to make it a little less threatening in regards to the logo and how we presented it on campus,” said Macias.
Health Promotion Services is also offering resources to quit smoking for those who attend a one-on-one session. The smoker will receive quick kits which contain nicorette gum, lozenges and knick knacks to help deal with oral fixation.
Last semester, the smoking areas on campus were confined to one area at Welch Field facing Fulton Street. Facilities struggled to keep up with the daily collection of trash because of the cigarette butts littering campus. Facilities Director Craig Petersen said, “My view is that I need to keep the campus clean, and anytime you see smoking on campus, you see litter. That’s a burden to my staff to clean up and makes the campus less attractive.” Health Promotion Services received complaints from students and parents concerned about secondhand smoke because of asthma, pregnancy or general health concerns.
Health Promotion Services is realistic that not all smokers will want to quit. “We don’t expect everyone to quit just because of a no-smoking policy,” said Diaz. Smoking on the sidewalks surrounding campus will still be permitted, as the sidewalks are on city property. To combat littering near the sidewalks, the Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots environmental organization, will donate ten cigarette butt receptacles that can hold 5,000 butts each. Terracycle, a free recycling program, will collect the discarded butts and recycle them into other products, such as sunglasses.