Inside Rensselaer
* Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative Begins July 1
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Smoke- and Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative Begins July 1
In November 2009, the Division of Human Resources announced that Rensselaer will become a smoke-free campus effective July 1, 2010. Now, as plans to launch the initiative continue, the Institute has expanded its plans and will also become a tobacco-free campus. Rensselaer will join more than 360 U.S. colleges and universities that have pursued similar initiatives.

“By participating in this initiative, we hope to set an example that will encourage the Rensselaer community to embrace a spirit of healthy living, learning, and working,” Powell said. “It will be important for all members of the Rensselaer community to support one another during this change.”

“We believe that expanding this initiative from a smoke-free to a tobacco-free campus allows the Institute to provide public health policy leadership, while supporting a culture that reflects a genuine respect for all members of the campus community, visitors, the environment, and institutional sustainability efforts,” said Curtis Powell, vice president for human resources. “In addition, this initiative supports the spirit of campuswide health and wellness.”

Powell noted that the evidence and trends regarding the health hazards of smoking and second-hand smoke indicate that dangers extend beyond smoking cigarettes to now include products such as chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and electronic cigarettes, according to information published by the Environmental Protection Agency.

“By participating in this initiative, we hope to set an example that will encourage the Rensselaer community to embrace a spirit of healthy living, learning, and working,” Powell said. “It will be important for all members of the Rensselaer community to support one another during this change.”

In order to provide resources for support and information, the Divisions of Human Resources and Student Life are in the process of finalizing several activities that will be available to members of the campus community. Plans include the formation of focus group meetings with various members of the campus community to discuss and hear their input regarding implementation of the Tobacco Free Campus Initiative, as well as scheduling on-site smoking cessation classes for faculty, staff, and students. A formal announcement with more details will be made in the next few weeks.

Additionally, faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to contact their primary care physicians to receive counseling and smoking-cessation prescription benefits. Faculty and staff who receive their health plan coverage from CDPHP are eligible to receive an additional 20 percent discount at CVS drug stores on CVS brand over-the-counter smoking-cessation products, such as the nicotine patch and gum.

In an effort to garner student participation, the Tobacco Free Campus implementation team, which consists of staff from the Office of the Provost and the Divisions of Human Resources and Student Life, launched a contest for Rensselaer students to design a logo to promote the Tobacco Free Campus Initiative. The winning entries will be announced on March 19. The winners will receive gift certificates for the Rensselaer Computer Store or Book Store.

Additional communications will be forthcoming in the near future.

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Inside Rensselaer, Strategic Communications and External Relations
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 5, March 19, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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