The restrictions are part of the new Tobacco Policy that was implemented this month. According to the policy, the university does not require faculty, staff and students to quit using tobacco products; however, it does expect individuals to refrain from using any tobacco products while on university property.
The boundaries of the policy include any property owned or leased by TCU and any streets or sidewalks adjoining university property.
According to Kathryn Cavins-Tull, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, the topic of tobacco use on campus was raised a few years ago; however, it wasn’t until this past year a consensus was reached. Students in the Student Government Association worked with members of the Alcohol and Drug Education center, as well as the Director of Wellness, Director of Employee Wellness, Human Resources and the Associate Dean of Nursing to get the conversation started again.
“We hosted two open forums and also spoke with the Faculty Senate and the Staff Assembly,” Cavins-Tull said. “There are lots of good reasons to be tobacco-free and a number of complications in addressing behavior change, who is responsible for a tobacco-free environment and how to help those who want to change their tobacco use.”
Cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, e-cigarettes/vapes and hookahs are considered smoking and tobacco products for purposes of this policy and are prohibited on all university-owned or leased property or vehicles.
Exceptions to the policy are people wishing to use tobacco as part of an established religious or cultural ceremony, artistic performance in a university-sponsored event or for educational/clinical purposes. However, those wishing to be exempt from the policy must request an exemption from Cavins-Tull.
“I have had almost all positive responses,” she said. “Many people believed that we were already tobacco-free and some indicated that it was about time.”
Senior nursing major Jordan Smith said her major is a key reason she supports the policy.
“As a nursing major, I’ve seen the detrimental effects tobacco truly has on the human body,” she said. “I support it because it targets students that are still young enough to change or break habits before lifelong damage may occur.”
However, there were some students who were against the policy and took to social media to voice their opinion.
“I believe that the tobacco ban is a blatant restriction of my freedom,” said Trey Fearn, a sophomore film-TV-digital media and psychology double major. “I understand that they are looking out for our health. However, as an adult, I’m going to consume tobacco whether or not the school bans it.”
In terms of changing members of the TCU community’s views on the topic, Cavins-Tull said she’s not sure if the policy will be successful in changing the minds of those on campus. She does think that it’s a move in the right direction for the wellness of the campus community.