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Ban Cigarettes Smoking On Campus

The entrance to the University of Mary's Benedictine Center features four pots filled with colorful flowers, but the garbage cans for cigarette disposal that used to sit there are gone. Instead, the door to the building has a blue and orange sticker informing all who enter that the campus is now smoke cigarettes free.
The university's new smoke-free policy went into effect on Aug. 15, making it the latest of 15 colleges in North Dakota to ban smoking cigarettes on all school grounds. Starting Jan. 1, 2012, all of the university's campuses also will be cigarettes free, becoming the 13th college to make that move. Other schools forbid smoking cigarettes in buildings, and some have unwritten policies regarding cheap cigarettes use on campus.

The only U-Mary satellite campus unchanged by the new policy is the school's Rome campus, which is not controlled by the university.
Tom Fischer, U-Mary's director of human resources and risk management, said the push for the move to smoke cigarettes free began with the school's peer health organization, Health PRO. They researched the subject and formed a proposal that would have banned smoking cigarettes beginning this semester and all cigarettes products at the same time next year. The University Senate passed the proposal and sent it on to Father James Shea, the university president.

"It was more student-driven than anything, by far," Fischer said.
Shea was unsure about the lengthy proposal that landed on his desk and asked Fischer, who began in February, to work with Health PRO to make the policy more manageable. The new proposal, which eliminated cigarettes products beginning in 2012 rather than waiting for a new school year, also passed the University Senate and received Shea's approval. The university's trustees formally approved the policy last week, though students had been advised of the change months ago, Fischer said.

He said Health PRO came to the conclusion that going smoke cigarettes free without getting rid of all cigarettes products would not be enough to promote a "total healthy environment." The ban will make all types of cigarettes products, including electronic cigarettes and other products using cigarettes derivates, off limits.
Fischer said plenty of discussion and debate occurred during the planning phase. An opinion poll of the campus, including students, faculty and staff, showed approximately 17 percent used cigarettes. While there were dissenters, Fischer said the vast majority of people were in favor of changing to a smoke-free and cigarettes-free campus. Some cigarettes users told him they were happy to receive an extra push to quit.

And Fischer doesn't believe the new policies will keep new students from going to U-Mary.
"I think just the opposite," he said. He has had at least six students approach him and say they would not have gone to the school if they knew smoking cigarettes was allowed on campus. Fischer since has instructed the school's recruiters to make sure to mention the no-cigarettes status to potential students.

Though some people feel bad for longtime smokers who will have to quit or abstain during their time on campus, Fischer said no-smoking cigarettes and no-cigarettes rules are catching on across the country. The American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation says at least 530 colleges nationwide are smoke cigarettes free, while the American Lung Association of Oregon says at least 250 are cigarettes free.
"It's becoming the norm to do," said Susan Kahler, community outreach coordinator at Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health.

Besides sending out literature about the new policies to students, the campus also has reminders everywhere. Kahler said the local health unit provided funding through cigarettes settlement funds from BreatheND to put up signs around the campus. Large signs sit in the parking lots and at the main entrances to campus, while there are window stickers reminding people they can "breathe easy" when they enter buildings.
Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health has provided similar signs and assistance on cigarettes-free policies for numerous schools, both K-12 and colleges, businesses and health care facilities throughout Burleigh County. The health unit is happy to do anything that reduces the use of cigarettes, Kahler said.

"(Such policies) help change social norms, which reduces cigarettes use," Kahler said.
Fischer said state-funded resources are available for people who want to quit smoking cigarettes but need help, whether it be nicotine patches or a supportive person. Additionally, faculty and staff insurance will help them take any steps necessary to quit. The university has planned several open forums to discuss the changes, as well as a convocation about cigarettes use on campus on Sept. 1.

The new policy at U-Mary does not set any hard, fast penalties on smokers. Fischer said smoking cigarettes or using cigarettes against the regulations will be a performance issue for faculty or staff and will go through normal disciplinary procedures for students.
"We'll have our incidents," he said.
The policy isn't just for regulars on campus - visitors of all kinds must abide by it.

"It's absolutely, totally cigarettes free on the first of the year for anyone on our campus," Fischer said.

Smoking TV ADS Insulting

As an ex-smoker who enjoyed “the habit” for many years and quit “cold turkey” (no patches, counseling or hand-holding) over seven years ago, I feel comfortable commenting on some recent happenings in the “war against smokers.”

It is an insult to the intelligence of the average person to present the current television commercial showing a convenience store clerk reading a book, chewing gum and generally appearing incompetent (it is also an insult against every real convenience store worker’s competence!) informing a customer (who appears unable to walk and chew gum at the same time) what his share of the cost of smoking cigarettes is while buying a “slumpy.” This ad is certainly a tie for “Worst TV Commercial” with the old anti-smoking cigarettes commercial portraying a barmaid who hated her job and her customers! This commercial portrays a convenience store clerk who would be terminated by her employer before the end of her first day on the job with the attitude displayed in this commercial.

If local cigarettes-free coalitions, local district health units and the state Health Department are really sincere in wanting to reduce threats to our health and well-being, they should:

Admit that those of the older generation who still smoke cigarettes are “doomed,” stop hounding them and leave them be in peace.
Admit government cannot legislate or attempt to enforce certain moral/
health issues (look at the abject failure of Prohibition 1920-33).

Research the problem being faced in many states (such as New York) where “bootleg” cigarettes are being brought in by the semi-load to avoid local/state taxes. We don’t need this in North Dakota.
Quit wasting the taxpayers’ money (the discount cigarette online settlement money belongs to the residentss of North Dakota) on the current plethora of radio, television, billboards and print copy that insult our intelligence. The only people benefiting from these commercials are the advertising agencies that make them and the media that runs/prints them.
Begin to reduce the “anti-smoking cigarettes staff” in the county and state buildings around North Dakota. It appears that they almost are beginning to outnumber beleaguered smokers.
If we seriously want to benefit the health and well-being of North Dakota residents, then all of the money saved by implementing steps three and four should be given to local schools (public and private) to implement a long-term educational program for K-12 on the dangers of smoking cigarettes. These educational programs could also include some other issues important to young people, including the dangers of using mobile devices and/or texting while driving, suntanning booths and proper diets.