By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — Wright State University officials are aiming to change the culture on campus by officially becoming a tobacco-free space.
That means the use of vape pens, e-cigarettes and tobacco products of any kind, with an exception to FDA-approved cessation tools, will be on all campus properties. However, this change is not expected to occur overnight — Wright State will spend the coming months promoting a tobacco-free climate, while the implementation will become official as of July 1, 2017.
“This is a big day for Wright State and I believe it’s a win, win, win for our faculty, students, staff and visitors to our campus because this is all about our health,” Wright State President Dr. David Hopkins said. ” … It’s going to take time, but this is a very important step forward for our university.”
While this change may challenge those who use nicotine, Wright State is not asking them to undertake cessation on their own. The university is partnering with the public health entities of Dayton, Montgomery and Mercer counties to offer tools and programs to help smokers blow their last puff. WSU is the ninth four-year school in Ohio that is part of the Inter-University Council to make this commitment, joining approximately 1,400 other tobacco-free colleges across the nation, according to Wright State.
“The workforce our students will enter is quite different than the workforce I went into over the years, so what we’re trying to do is prepare them for that in this environment, because everything we do is to prepare them to be very successful in life,” Hopkins said. “The workforce they go into will be smoke-free in many cases. We have to prepare them for the world they’re going live, learn and work in.”
Wright State is not directly punishing individuals for lighting up on campus. Instead it is hoping to get nicotine uses to quit the unhealthy habit.
“What we’re going to do during the spring semester is a great deal of education, making available all kinds of resources to faculty, staff and students on smoking cessation and everything we can do to help make this transition personal,” Hopkins said.