Hamline University has launched an initiative to examine the impact of tobacco and tobacco use on campus. A task force is being assembled to research, then make appropriate recommendations on whether the university should become tobacco-free.
While the task force is still in its formative stages, it will include student, faculty, and staff representatives from Student Affairs, Hamline University Student Congress, Athletics, the Hamline University Staff Association, Faculty Council, Alumni Relations, the Benefits Advisory Committee, and the Risk Management Team. To allay any bias, smokers and nonsmokers will be included in the task force, and the opinions of current students, faculty, and staff will be considered.
The initiative comes in response to a formal request for the task force, made by a group of Hamline faculty, students, and staff. Currently, more than 40 Minnesota colleges and universities, and more than 1,100 nationwide, have opted to move toward a tobacco-free campus. Some issues the task force may consider include the social and emotional impact on tobacco users if the university were to go tobacco-free, community members’ exposure to secondhand smoke on campus, and the environmental and economic effects of tobacco litter. If the task force recommends the move to a tobacco-free campus, it will also research resources available to assist in tobacco cessation for those interested in such services.
The next step is to finalize the task force membership. From there, the group will set a meeting structure and work plan, and they will begin gathering data. The goal is to have the task force's work completed and a recommendation on this matter to the Risk Management Committee by early spring.