HAMMOND — Beginning Aug. 1, cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes will have no place on the Southeastern Louisiana University campus when the university officially becomes tobacco free.
The move is in accordance with Act 211 from the 2013 Louisiana legislative session, which calls for public post-secondary education institutions to develop smoke-free policies, university officials announced. Southeastern, along with many of its sister institutions in the University of Louisiana System, took an additional step, banning all tobacco products.
“I am so proud for Southeastern to be a part of the 938 universities nationwide that have chosen a tobacco free policy for their campus,” said Annette Baldwin, licensed professional counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist and Louisiana Tobacco-Free College Initiative (LTFCI) grant coordinator at Southeastern. “I am even more proud that we are a part of the 176 universities that have included the use of e-cigarettes in our policy. We believe this to be a positive and health directed move forward for our faculty, students, staff and visitors.”
Baldwin is leading the university’s marketing and information campaign on the new policy, which applies to all Southeastern students, faculty, staff, visitors and contractors. Tobacco use includes, but is not limited to cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipes, hookah-smoked products, electronic cigarettes, and oral tobacco products such as dips and chews.
Baldwin said the university’s Counseling Center will offer smoking cessation clinics, led by a certified cessation specialist, for students struggling with quitting tobacco. The Pennington Student Activity Center will offer similar clinics for faculty and staff.
“We recognize that many may want to discontinue use of tobacco, which for some people can be extremely difficulty. That’s certainly a laudable goal that can have significant health benefits,” Baldwin said. “We’re trying to make it a bit easier and provide some peer support for those trying to quit.”
The campus community and its visitors are being informed of the new tobacco-free policy through a variety of means including signs posted throughout the campus, campus-wide email communications, social media campaigns, online and printed resources, website postings and institutional trainings and programs. The catch phrase is “we are tobacco free.”
The policy includes potential fines and other sanctions for violators.