The university implemented a system-wide tobacco-free policy Aug. 15, following a two-year process that went from smoking in designated areas only to the current policy, university officials said.
"The Missouri State University System has for many years had a Tobacco Use/Smoking Policy that restricted smoking and the use of tobacco products on campus," officials explained. "Over the years, this policy has been modified with the goal of promoting the health of our campus citizens and visitors to the campus. In 2009 a number of groups on campus discussed the University Tobacco Use Policy, the health hazards contributed to tobacco use and second-hand smoke and considered potential changes to the policy.
"Rather than have individual groups working in parallel on this issue, the president of Missouri State University appointed one committee representing major campus constituencies to advise the administration and to make coordinated recommendations for any policy changes," officials continued. "The result from this presidential committee was a policy change following a two-year interim policy period which included educational and informational campaigns and the use of campus designated smoking locations. The interim policy was designed to transition to a new Tobacco Use Policy by August 15, 2012."
As of Aug. 15, smoking and the use of tobacco products by students, faculty, staff and visitors are prohibited on all Missouri State University properties. The only exception locally is use of such products by students, faculty, staff and visitors in their own vehicles, officials said.
The university does offer smoking cessation programs to students, faculty and staff through the Taylor Health and Wellness Center on the Springfield campus, and members of the West Plains campus community can use those services.
As no-cost tobacco cessation programs become available locally, that information will be communicated to the campus community, as well, officials said.
A copy of the new Missouri State-West Plains Tobacco Use Policy can be found at wp.missouristate.edu/PhysicalPlant/Tobacco.htm.
For more information about the policy, contact Dr. Herb Lunday, dean of student services at Missouri State-West Plains, at 417-255-7255.