Students, faculty, staff and visitors to the Arizona Health Sciences Center in Tucson will breathe easier, thanks to a new tobacco-free policy at AHSC.
The Arizona Health Sciences Center’s Tucson campus includes the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson; UA College of Nursing; UA College of Pharmacy; and the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. (The University of Arizona Health Network, the clinical enterprise at AHSC, imposed a similar tobacco ban in January 2012.)
Under the new policy, which went through the UA Shared Governance Review Committee process and into effect July 30, the use of tobacco products is prohibited, both indoors and outdoors, at the AHSC colleges and affiliated buildings and property. Existing smoking areas and ashtrays will be removed.
The AHSC tobacco-free policy is consistent with a national trend among health sciences campuses and hospitals to ban the use of tobacco products in all indoor and outdoor public spaces. The new policy stipulates that the use of any tobacco products, including cigarettes, cigars, pipes and smokeless or chewing tobacco and other products containing tobacco, are prohibited on any AHSC property. Users still will be able to smoke or use tobacco in their personal vehicles.
"A tobacco-free campus creates a more healthful environment for all of us," said Andrew Comrie, PhD, UA senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. "As Arizona’s only academic health center, AHSC is addressing local and national health-care challenges on a daily basis. Creating a tobacco-free environment is an important part of fulfilling our leadership role."
Dr. Comrie says that in addition to eliminating health hazards associated with second-hand smoke, the new tobacco-free policy will create a more supportive environment for those seeking to quit tobacco use. The American Lung Association reports that nationwide 290 colleges and universities prohibit smoking and all forms of tobacco use everywhere on campus and provide no designated smoking areas. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studies have shown that workplace tobacco-free policies can reduce the amount of daily smoking among workers and increase the number of employees who are able to stop smoking.
Faculty and staff members are encouraged to contact their insurance providers to get more information on help with this transition.
In addition, the Arizona Smokers' Helpline (ASHLine), 1-800-55-66-222, provides free counseling and web-based quit services in English and Spanish. For UA faculty and staff, a medication benefit is included with their health insurance that includes comprehensive medication coverage and behavioral counseling. ASHLine is one of the leading tobacco-cessation resources in the nation, and is part of the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.
Details about the tobacco use ban may be found at: http://policy.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/Tobacco-free_AHSC.pdf or by contacting Pamela M. Jones, interim director, AHSC Human Resources, 520-626-2600.