Last year Penn State President Eric Barron, commissioned a task force to explore the idea of making the university smoke-free. This 17-member group that consists of professors, physicians and student government representatives, met last month and released seven recommendations on how this goal can be achieved.
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The recommendations go as follows :
- prohibit smoking and tobacco on all campuses and Penn State properties;
- create an Office for a Smoke Free/Tobacco Free Penn State responsible for implementation and assessment of outcomes;
- implement a soft launch in January 2018 and enforcement in fall 2018;
- support those who wish to quit with free cessation programs;
- enforce the policy through peer support and encouragement, and supervisory oversight only when necessary;
- roll out a communications plan that builds understanding for the policy and its potential health impacts;
- work collaboratively with each campus’s local community to advance the mission of improved health.
The negative aspect of this ban
If these recommendations are implemented, Penn State will become the 11th out of the US’s 14 major universities that ban tobacco use. However public health experts have been pointing out that there is one major issue with such measures that fail to differentiate between e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes.
The importance in differentiating between vaping and smoking
Countless studies have indicated that the electronic devices are significantly safer than their deadly combustible counterparts, besides also being the most effective smoking cessation tools available to date. Regular smokers are known to benefit greatly by switching from smoking to vaping, and regulations that put e-cigarettes on the same shelf as regular cigarettes send the opposite message, possibly stopping many from considering the switch and costing them their lives.
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