On Jan. 27, the University of West Georgia sent an email to all the students informing them that the university is considering the option of becoming a tobacco and smoke free campus. This draft was brought forward to the Board of Regents by Vice Chancellor Marion Fredrick. The Board of Regents is the governing body for all Georgia universities and colleges in the system. The purpose of the policy is to improve the health and safety of students, staff, faculty and visitors. If passed, UWG would ban all tobacco products on campus, including smokeless tobacco.  If UWG is to pass this policy, it will be joining the 1,000 plus other colleges and universities that have already implemented tobacco and/or smoke free policies.

“I received the email before my class on Monday,” said Meghan Carlisle, sophomore. “But I didn’t have time to take it due to the short time frame given.”

The students at UWG were able to vote on the policy through a survey sent via the email, but the survey was only available for one day limiting the amount of feedback the university could have received. This time frame could in turn affect the outcome of the policy. The student body president, Dana Jones, compiled the information from the surveys and sent it to Dr. Lingrell.

“I think the university is on the right track with proposing this policy,” said Carlisle, “Although, if this is passed, I hope UWG is ready for a lot of backlash from the students.”

With the amount of students that use some form of tobacco product on UWG’s campus, whether it be smokeless or not, UWG could be pushing students away from living on campus or coming to campus as often. By pushing all smoking off campus could potentially hurt our growth of our university by limiting students that come to UWG, primarily since living on campus is a requirement for all freshmen. The university is trying to pass this policy for the overall health of its students and staff; they should consider all options first before completely banning tobacco. Some options include smoking stations on campus, like ones at Turner Field, or banning only smoking tobacco to help prevent the secondhand smoke intake on campus.

The USG, University of West Georgia and the UWG Student Government Association are dedicated to being an active partner in the safety, health and welfare of all who study, teach, work and visit our campuses. If approved, the implementation of a Tobacco and Smoke Free Campus at UWG and all USG Institutions will go into effect July 1. USG will be joining over 1,000 other colleges and universities that have already implemented Tobacco and/or Smoke Free Policies. Visit tobaccofreecampus.org to learn more about this nationwide effort.

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