In April 2014, UAA Students voted that UAA should have a comprehensive smoke-free policy. A comprehensive smoke free policy means:

  • No smoking of any tobacco products in any of the UAA buildings and premises in the U-Med district.
  • No tobacco-related advertising or sponsorship on campus.
  • Not accepting gifts or grants from tobacco companies.

In the spirit of shared governance, UAA faculty and staff are encouraged to weigh in on this issue. Please take the faculty and staff survey on this site. This survey is open only to UAA faculty and staff, and it will close on Friday, September 26, 2014.

Before taking the survey, please take a moment to review the Frequently Asked Questions about the proposed smoke-free policy, the signed student referendum, and the current UAA smoking policy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if UAA goes smoke free?

UAA won’t quit cold turkey. During the transition period to a smoke-free campus, efforts will focus on education and awareness so that everyone on campus knows what the new policy will entail. If UAA goes smoke free, smokers and nonsmokers alike will have the opportunity to propose the best way to implement the new policy including enforcement.

How is the smoke-free policy going to be enforced and who will enforce it?

There will be at least one year of transition where the UAA community will have the opportunity to propose the best way to implement the policy including enforcement. In the interim, enforcement of the new policy will be the same as the current UAA smoking policy.

How much will a smoke-free UAA cost?

The ballot measure that the students voted on DOES NOT include any funding request if passed. Most of the funding associated with the initial implementation of the new policy will be sought from other sources outside of the university. There are also FREE resources available to help smokers quit, such as the Alaska Tobacco Quit Line for Alaska residents, Quit for Life Program and Healthy Roads for UAA employees, and smoking cessation services at the Student Health Center for UAA students.

Don’t smokers have rights?

There is no constitutional right to smoke. Alaska state law is clear: “everyone's right to clean air takes precedence over your right to smoke.” EVERYONE has a right to breathe smoke-free air. Smokers don’t have the right to put others at risk with secondhand smoke. Providing designated smoking areas on campus is not enough protection for everyone on campus because according to the U.S. Surgeon General there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Having a smoke-free campus is about RESPECT. By not smoking on campus, we are respecting everyone’s space. Abstaining from smoking on campus is a small sacrifice for the benefit of many. Students, faculty, and staff with conditions affected by smoking and secondhand smoke, such as allergies, cardiovascular disease, and other respiratory illnesses far outnumber the number of smokers on campus.

Does UAA have cessation services for its students and employees?

YES. UAA students taking 6 or more credits and having paid their student service fee, may schedule an appointment for smoking cessation. They can see a family nurse practitioner for help with cessation, information on the Alaska Tobacco Quit Line and prescriptions if needed. For UAA employees, those wanting to quit can enroll in the Quit For Life Program or Healthy Roads. For students taking fewer than 6 credits or non-benefitted employees, the Alaska Tobacco Quit Line is a free resource.

Will e-cigarettes be also prohibited under the comprehensive smoke-free policy?

E-cigarettes are included in the smoke-free policy referendum that won in the spring 2014 USUAA election. The FDA has not approved e-cigarettes and they have not been proven effective to help smokers quit. Nicotine Replace Therapy (NRT) has been proven effective to help smokers quit and is available free of charge. Furthermore, the American Lung Association is concerned about the potential safety and health consequences of electronic cigarettes and claims that they can be used to help smokers quit. Without FDA oversight there is no way for the medical community or consumers to know what chemicals are contained in e-cigarettes or the short and long term health implications of the product.

What will happen to residential students who smoke?

One of UAA’s top priorities is the safety and health of UAA students. If UAA goes smoke-free, students who smoke who also live on campus will need to adhere to the policy by smoking off campus. Our campus police already patrol UAA perimeter areas where most smokers would need to go in order to smoke without violating a smoke-free policy. Students who choose to go off campus to smoke would not be treated any different than students who choose to go off campus to study, eat, go out, etc. The Student Health Center also offers smoking cessation services for UAA students who want to quit.

Have other campuses gone smoke-free?

More than 1,200 colleges and universities nationwide already have either a comprehensive smoke-free or tobacco-free policy. Health campuses in the U-Med District have a tobacco-free policy, such as Providence Alaska Medical Center, Alaska Native Medical Center, and Alaska Native Health Consortium.

 

For questions on the UAA smoke-free initiative, please contact

 

Gabriel M. Garcia, Ph.D., M.A., M.P.H.

Associate Professor of Public Health
Office: Department of Health Sciences
Phone: 907.786.6532
Email: gabrieljmgarcia@uaa.alaska.edu