Following an announcement last summer, Valencia College is moving forward with plans to go smoke-free on all its campuses by August 2012. Several other Florida colleges and universities, including the University of Florida in Gainesville, have enacted smoke-free policies, meaning they don’t allow students, employees or visitors to smoke anywhere on school grounds. The University of Central Florida (UCF) is considering taking similar steps.
“I hate to interfere in people’s private lives and habits, but secondhand smoke affects everyone,” said Valencia President Sandy Shugart in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel.
The college will spend the next eight months preparing students, faculty and staff for the change in policy, and has launched a communications effort with the theme, “Share the Air.”
The Share the Air campaign includes campus banners, ashtray decals, printed informational materials and a new website, among other things. Valencia, in partnership with the Quit Smoking Now program, is also providing free on-campus quit-smoking programs for students, employees and members of the community who wish to kick the habit.
In November, student groups at all four campuses held events in conjunction with the America Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke-Out, an event that challenges people to stop smoking cigarettes for a day, hoping their decision not to smoke will last forever. The students used the occasion to introduce the college’s new smoke-free policy with a focus on health and nutrition (“Smoke a turkey, not your lungs” was the fun theme of Winter Park Campus’ event).
To see a video of the East Campus festivities and hear the views of smokers and non-smokers alike on the college going smoke-free, click here: