USAO to expand smoke-free campus July 6
Citing health and financial concerns for all members of the campus community, leaders at the University of Science and Arts said Thursday the school will comply fully with Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive order that bans tobacco on state property beginning July 6.
USAO became a smoke-free campus in August 1993. The governor’s Executive Order 2012-01, signed on Feb. 6, will expand USAO’s ban to include all property owned by the university, including outdoor spaces.
USAO’s current policy on tobacco was approved by the USAO Board of Regents in June 1993. It banned smoking in all campus buildings but allows smoking outdoors, at least 25 feet from building entrances.
In her January state of the union address, Gov. Fallin argued for healthier policies and attitudes in Oklahoma.
“Healthy living is important, not just because we want Oklahomans to live full and happy lives, but because the effects of unhealthy life choices hurt our economy, drain taxpayer dollars and drive up the cost of health care for everyone,” Fallin said. “Oklahoma is currently ranked 48th in the nation in overall health indicators. That’s unacceptable.”
Fallin’s full address is available online at www.ok.gov/governor. A copy of the executive order also is posted there under the link “agenda.”
Besides turning the State Capitol smoking room into a fitness center, Fallin argued that all state agencies should enact proactive health policies.
“There are several major factors that hurt our health ranking: obesity, tobacco, poor nutrition, infant mortality, substance abuse and lack of physical activity, just to name a few,” Fallin said. “It’s time to address these problems, move the numbers in the right direction and take control of our own destiny. To do that, I have first signed an executive order to prohibit tobacco use on all state property.”
Her executive order also prohibits smokeless tobacco, citing research by the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control. It takes effect on July 6, exactly six months after Monday’s signing.
USAO President John Feaver sees the policy as a logical step toward healthy outcomes for all Oklahomans.
“This has been a topic of discussion for years by our regents – how to encourage healthy living through thoughtful policy,” Feaver said. “In our research, student input has been mixed, as you might expect, but this policy was predictable in that many state and federal agencies, as well as industries large and small, are taking steps to encourage healthy, active lifestyles. We support that. I expect our Regents will be supportive as well. In addition to supporting healthy decisions by students and faculty, this decision will reduce insurance and maintenance costs for the university.”
The USAO Board of Regents will consider the amended tobacco policy when they meet on April 10.