The tobacco-free policy was formerly implemented at NSU on July 1. This policy prohibits smoking and the use of any form of tobacco products on NSU campus; the policy applies to all students, faculty, staff and visitors.
Tom Vitucci, the chair of the task force committee that recommended this policy, said that talks on NSU becoming a tobacco-free environment started in 2007. Surveys and focus groups were used to find out what people would think and how they would respond to such a policy.
There were about 5000 respondents to the survey, and three out every four favored a tobacco-free environment. Vitucci said that concern for the health of every individual was the reason behind this decision, because there are health risks associated with tobacco use.
With this new policy in effect, the NSU Area Health Education Center (AHEC), continues to provide cessation services to smokers who want to quit. Steve Bronsburg, Ph.D, who is the Assistant Director for Tobacco Cessation and Training, said that since the implementation of the policy, there has been a significant increase in the class size. It has grown from about four participants in the past to 10. The Quit Smoking Now (QSN) program, which is run by doctoral students in the psychology program, offers free services to the NSU community and the public.
Bronsburg said, “This new policy encourages smokers to quit. A vast majority of tobacco users want to quit and with this new policy, they are motivated to do so. Also having the resources and services to easily accessible here at NSU is also an added advantage.”
Mathew Competiello, Program Manager at American lung association in Fla. expressed his delight in this new policy. He said the ALA supports the tobacco-free policy at NSU and is thankful to all responsible for the process of its implementation. He said that NSU has the perfect scenario – a tobacco- free campus, as well as free cessation services right on campus.
“This is a model that I envision other colleges in Broward County, Florida and even the rest of the nation to look into,” said Competiello.
He expressed the willingness of the ALA to work with NSU to help educate the community about the benefits of a smoke-free environment.
Vitucci expects both the NSU community and visitors to comply with the policy. People should remind any violators that this is a tobacco-free campus, if they feel comfortable approaching them, or simply report to public safety.
“Like any other violation we would like people to report it.” said Vitucci.
He is hoping however, that people will voluntarily comply.
He also said NSU community should expect more events, programs and services that promote the health of the NSU community.