Get Healthy Carson City: Western Nevada College is going tobacco- and smoke-free | NevadaAppeal.com

Get Healthy Carson City: Western Nevada College is going tobacco- and smoke-free

Sandy Wartgow and Rebecca Bevans

No smoking allowed sign

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal's Tuesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

Western Nevada College is a step closer to improving the health and safety of its campus. The WNC Healthy Campus Committee has updated the Tobacco and Smoke-Free policy that will go into effect beginning fall semester 2017. As of Aug. 14, 2017, all WNC campuses will be tobacco-free. This policy promotes a healthier working and learning environment for students, staff, faculty, and visitors to the campuses. By eliminating secondhand smoke, WNC is helping all its patrons to breathe easier.

WNC will join more than 1,700 tobacco-free campuses across the United States, including UNR and TMCC (2018). Beginning this week, the uses of tobacco and vapor products are prohibited on all WNC property, including inside buildings and all outdoor areas. The updated policy includes all tobacco products. Furthermore, the policy defines "smoking" to mean inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any liquid or heated cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product intended for inhalation, including hookahs and marijuana, whether natural or synthetic, in any manner or in any form. Smoking also includes the use of an electronic smoking device which creates an aerosol or vapor, in any manner or in any form.

The move to become a tobacco-free college has been a long and carefully considered process. In 2013, students began using e-cigarettes in classrooms requiring a memorandum to stop the practice. In 2014, faculty, staff, and students began complaining about the cigarette smoke outside of building entrances. The administration knew that in order to help maintain a healthier campus, they needed to move to a tobacco- and vaporizer-free college.

In 2014, the first policy change was put into place allowing the designation of smoking areas and included the aspirational goal of a tobacco-free campus. In 2015, the Healthy Campus Committee was formed and tasked with changing the campus policy and all the unique challenges that would arise along the way. Surveys were conducted in 2015 and found that 87 percent of students and 75 percent of faculty and staff were supportive of a tobacco-free campus.

In 2016, tobacco use areas were designated on all three campuses. Also in 2016, WNC was awarded a grant from Truth Initiative to assist in the move to become a completely tobacco-free campus. Now in August 2017, all designated tobacco use areas have been removed, or are in the process of being removed, and the use of tobacco and vaporizer products are prohibited on all WNC campuses, including inside buildings and all outdoor areas.

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As faculty, staff, students, and other patrons return to campus for the fall term, they can find more information about the Tobacco and Smoke-Free policy by visiting the healthy campus website at http://www.wnc.edu/healthy-campus/. Patrons also can email the Healthy Campus Committee at healthycampus@wnc.edu.

If anyone needs help or would like information about stopping their use of tobacco, please contact the Nevada Tobacco Quitline: 1-800-QUITNOW or online at http://www.nevadatobaccoquitline.com. Additionally, tobacco users can contact Carson Tahoe Health for information on Freedom from Smoking classes at https://www.carsontahoe.com.

Carson City Health and Human Services applauds WNC efforts in creating a healthy environment for our community. For information about Health Department services, check out our website at http://gethealthycarsoncity.org/, or visit us at http://www.facebook.com/cchhs.

Sandy Wartgow, RN, is with Carson City Health and Human Services. Rebecca Bevans is a WNC instructor and Healthy Campus Program Coordinator.

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