Health Council Discussed Tobacco Free Campuses

Florida A&M University School of Allied Health Sciences discussed the possibility of making the university a campus wide tobacco-free zone last night during the health council meeting – an initiative that Florida State University is working to implement and University of Florida has already put into action.

The two main topics discussed during the meeting were women health and the dangers of tobacco products.

Guess speaker Joe Scarfone, tobacco prevention specialist with the Department of Health, enlightened the council on the Breathe Easy campaign that is being implemented on UF campus, and now FSU.

Currently FSU has imposes smoke-free zones in certain areas on its campus such as the Student Union courtyard.

“The interim end goal is to create a breathe easy campus, meaning that there is no smoking on campus except for those designated areas,” said Scarfone. “The FSU SGA [Student Government Association] breathe easy campaign goal is to ask those buildings that has not adopted the policy to adopt it. The second goal is to request that the president ask all buildings to adopt it, once 2/3 of the campus has.”

Buildings that adopt the policy forces tobacco users to indulge 25 feet to 50 feet away, creating a tobacco free zone.

“When I say tobacco free I mean cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snus, e-cigarettes and snuff,” said Scarfone.  “Students are not allowed to smoke in their cars on campus.”

Using the grant from the Department of Health, the health council is conducting a survey to address and evaluate health issues – smoking being a primary issue.

Professor Kandy Woods demonstrated what happens to the lungs when someone smokes, and informed the hazards of smoking.

“We’re surprise at the number of students we see smoking on campus,” said Barbara Mosley, dean of Allied Health Sciences. “We had a student say ‘there’s a lot of smokers’.  We have to keep in mind we don’t get all over the campus, and our students are more in tune to it because they are in respiratory and we know the problems that can occur.”

Mosley advised that students not to keep the information to themselves, but to go out and educate others on the dangers of smoking – stressing that there are individuals who may not know the dangers of smoking.

“This meeting is very useful. It point out problems in today’s community with smoking,” said Gregory Ojo, a third year pre physical therapy student from Miami. “A lot of people are unaware of the harmful effects of tobacco and second-hand smoke. I think that the tobacco free campus would be a good thing, but I don’t think it would work because most people will fight for their choice of smoking.”

The health council is not just addressing smoking as an issue, but also others.