Smoking shelter will be removed next week
The UNT Health Science Center has a long-standing smoke-free campus policy that prohibits smoking anywhere on campus, including in parking lots and around buildings. To adhere to this policy and to ensure the health of our employees, students and visitors, the Health Science Center will be removing the smoking shelter on the circle drive in front of the Patient Care Center. The last day that the smoking shelter will be available for use is Wednesday, Dec. 10.
UNTHSC has formed a Wellness Task Force to promote the wellness of our employees and students by addressing smoking on campus and promoting physical activity. We asked Shawn Jeffries, PhD, assistant professor of Psychology and Wellness Task Force member, a few questions about our smoke-free policy:
Why is the smoke-free campus policy important to our employees, students and visitors?
Dr. Jeffries: According to the National Cancer Institute, tobacco use, particularly cigarette smoking, is the single most preventable cause of death in the United States, and cigarette smoking alone is directly responsible for approximately 30 percent of all cancer deaths annually. Our smoke-free policy can help improve the health of everyone on campus.
How will the Health Science Center’s non-smoking campus policy be enforced?
Dr. Jeffries: At this point, members of the Wellness Task Force, as well as an informal group of medical students, will be politely informing people they see smoking on campus of our smoke-free policy and handing out reminder cards to this effect. In the near future, we intend to inform either department heads, supervisors or the Department of Student Affairs about violators of the smoke-free policy, and appropriate consequences will be administered through those groups.
How does the Health Science Center help its employees and students quit smoking?
Total employee wellness is our key concern. Therefore, the Health Science Center strongly encourages any type of physical activity, including walking. Walking maps of the area around the Health Science Center and buildings are available at the FAC.
Dr. Jeffries: We currently have the free PATCH program (Positive Attitudes Towards Changing Habits) offered to employees and students twice a year. The program offers smoking-cessation counseling, plus free nicotine-replacement medication. For those individuals who wish to only use nicotine-replacement medication, we will be offering this free of charge through the Founders’ Activity Center (FAC).