Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City-Based Rose State College Joining Tobacco-Free List

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Oklahoma City-Based Rose State College Joining Tobacco-Free List

Article excerpt

Rose State College regents have decided to join a growing list of schools across the state that have moved to tobacco-free campuses.

"It's the intent of Rose State College to promote health and the well-being and our safety of all our students, faculty, staff and visitors," said Keith Ogans, vice president of business affairs. "We want to provide an environment as healthy as possible."

At a recent board of regents meeting, members voted unanimously for the college to end all smoking and tobacco use on campus. Currently, smoking is allowed in designated areas outside of buildings on campus.

The ban will be implemented in August, which should provide plenty of time to allow students and faculty to adjust, officials said. The school plans to offer some professional assistance.

"Smoking or other tobacco use is a very difficult habit to stop. And you just can't expect someone to immediately stop - boom," said Ogans, who quit using smokeless tobacco several years ago.

President Terry Britton said in a statement distributed across the campus, "We will begin the process with wellness and cessation programs for staff and students, as well as provide a directory of other resources for those who wish to quit smoking or desist from other tobacco use. We will keep you informed as we progress toward the implementation date."

Ogans said the cost of providing such programs is not yet known. They will be provided free to participants.

Rose State spokesman Ben Fenwick said several groups on campus, including the faculty senate, student senate and the president's leadership class, have addressed the issue over the past several months and generally support the measure. Many other colleges are already tobacco-free, and others are planning the same action.

By Oklahoma statute, colleges and universities are allowed to set stricter standards than merely disallowing smoking inside state buildings, which has been the minimum for about 10 years.

State Regents for Higher Education spokesman Ben Hardcastle said the regents have no formal policy or position statement on tobacco use. …

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