When you drive on the campus of the University of West Florida, the signs are everywhere: the campus is officially tobacco free.
The new policy went into effect at the beginning of the month.
“We want to make this a healthier and safer campus for everybody, and that’s one of the reasons why we went ahead and went tobacco free,” says Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Kevin Bailey.
The policy doesn’t just apply to cigarettes — smokeless tobacco and e-cigarettes are also included. The change has created a bit of a buzz on campus. Many students we spoke to agree with the policy.
“I think it’s important ’cause it’s just good for everyone’s overall health, so I think with the university cutting back on that, it will help with that issue,” says one student.
“I notice a lot of athletes will take up tobacco and stuff, and it’s important not to have it, because it’s an addictive drug,” says one student.
“I think it just brings a cleaner environment, which is kinda what uwf is known for,” says one student.
Not everyone agrees with the policy.
“I didn’t think it was the best choice for the university, because I feel like they lose more students that way, or students who do have the habit, but couldn’t really get out of that habit,” says one student.
But that is where the university is ready to help, by offering free classes and counseling to help students kick the habit.
University officials even conducted a campus-wide survey to get perspective on the plan, long before it went into effect.
“We surveyed those groups of faculty, staff and students. Ultimately, it was decided that it was in the best interest of the university to go tobacco free,” says Dr. Bailey.