The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 8, 2013

Tobacco use to be discussed at Pittsburg State University


From staff reports

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Perceptions and opinions regarding tobacco use on campus will be the topic of an open forum Wednesday Pittsburg State University.

The PSU Tobacco Policy Task Force will conduct the forum, which will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday in Room 102 Yates Hall. The event, which will include a question-and-answer session, is open to the public.

Results of a recent survey regarding tobacco use at PSU will be presented at the forum. The survey went out in early March to campus and local community members and was aimed at helping the task force develop its approach to the issue of tobacco use on campus.

Ty Patterson, director of the National Center of Tobacco Policy, will speak at the forum. Patterson is providing consulting services to the PSU task force.

“The purpose of the forum is to inform the community about the results of the survey and to continue the conversation about this important topic,” said Rita Girth, task force co-chairperson and operations director of the Bryant Student Health Center. “We encourage everyone to attend and share their thoughts and opinions.”

Pittsburg State University formed a Tobacco Policy Task Force to explore the feasibility of making the campus tobacco free. The move came after students voted overwhelmingly in a referendum last spring to recommend that the campus move to a completely tobacco-free environment.

The Tobacco Policy Task Force is led by Girth and Jim Triplett, a professor in the Department of Biology.

PSU was completely smoke free prior to World War II, and it wasn’t until the return of GIs following the war that smoking was allowed. There are currently 825 smoke-free campuses throughout the nation. Of these, 608 have a total tobacco-free policy.

PSU’s Tobacco Policy Task Force will review current policies of the university and its peers regarding tobacco, engage with campus stakeholders, and identify all benefits and disadvantages to implementing a tobacco-free policy.

A final report with recommendations will be delivered to the president in May.