UALR is going smoke-free | Arkansas Blog

UALR is going smoke-free

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Chancellor Joel Anderson announced the decision today. Effective 2009.

Smokers have another year to foul the air of non-smokers.

TO:                  UALR Faculty, Staff, and Students

FROM:            Joel E. Anderson, Chancellor

RE:                   Smoke-Free Campus Policy

DATE:             August 6, 2008

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will implement a smoke-free campus policy on August 16, 2009 – one year from now.

Based on the University Assembly recommendation and careful consideration of the arguments both for and against a smoking ban, I have come to the conclusion that UALR should institute a smoke-free policy.  This policy applies to all locations of the University, including the main campus, the Law School, and the Benton Center.

This decision reflects a long-term vision of UALR as an educational leader and a model for addressing difficult issues such as economic development, sustainability, and health care both on campus and in the larger community.

Plainly, the new smoke-free policy for the University will not ensure that everyone at UALR makes healthy choices.  It is, however, a step in the right direction. At minimum the policy will strengthen prevention efforts and reduce the number of new smokers.

We will put additional resources into our smoking cessation program to help support the new smoke-free policy.  The smoking cessation program is free of cost to University students, faculty, and staff. The new medication Chantix, covered by QualChoice with co-pay, has strengthened the cessation program. Our excellent Wellness Program will continue to offer educational programs related to wellness in general.

For those who smoke, I know that this announcement is unwelcome news.  For that reason I have made the decision with some reluctance.  I affirm your right to make your own decisions about smoking.  

I understand that this new policy may cause difficulties for you.  However, the reality is that this issue is larger than any individual.  A smoke-free campus policy is best for the future of UALR and all the people who live, work, and study at the University.

There are three reasons for the August 2009 date.  First, it provides smokers time to make adjustments.  Second, there are external groups who have already scheduled meetings and conferences on campus this coming year.  We should not change the rules for them after the fact.  Third, other institutions that have gone smoke-free have shown that a one-year transition works well.

I am confident that enforcement will not be an issue.  We will communicate the policy in advance to all employees and students.  In any event, as with all other campus regulations, an employee or student not following the rules will be subject to disciplinary action.

In summary, UALR will become smoke-free one year from now.  We as a university community will spend the next 12 months making internal and external adjustments in preparation for the smoke-free policy. I ask for the cooperation of all faculty, staff, and students in the implementation of the new policy.

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