Gannon University Takes Steps Toward Transitioning to Tobacco-Free Campus

Share the Air: Know. Honor. Enforce. The Tobacco Policy.

Share the Air: Know. Honor. Enforce. The Tobacco Policy.

Gannon University announced that a revised tobacco policy will be implemented at its Erie and Ruskin campuses beginning Aug. 1, 2019 in support of initiatives that will transition the University to becoming tobacco-free.

Gannon is one of 97 colleges and universities across the nation that was awarded an American Cancer Society grant to adopt smoke and tobacco-free campus policies as part of the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative. TFGCI is funded by the CVS Health Foundation and was established to deliver the first tobacco-free generation by accelerating and expanding the number of campuses across the country that prohibit smoking and tobacco use.

Gannon University was awarded an $8,000 grant, the maximum amount for a small-sized school through the initiative, in order to provide technical assistance through resources such as webinars, in-person trainings, one-on-one consultations with experts and peer-to-peer exchanges in an effort to help students, faculty and staff advocate for, adopt and implement strategies toward a 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free environment.

After receiving the grant in April 2018, the University gathered input from more than 2,000 students, faculty and staff who shared their perspective on the University’s tobacco policy and how it could be improved. This input, along with consideration of best practices within higher education, guided Gannon’s Tobacco-Free Campus Task Force in the development of the revised policy.

The revised policy states: “Gannon University is committed to nurturing a culture of health and wellness on campus. The hazards of tobacco are well documented among tobacco users and those exposed to secondhand smoke. Promotion of a tobacco-free lifestyle is an important step in promoting and optimizing the health status of our greatest resource– our students, faculty, staff and neighbors. For this reason, the University is committed to transitioning to a tobacco-free campus.”

Updates to the policy include expanding the definition of tobacco and tobacco-like substances such as e-cigarettes, and prohibiting tobacco use for all Gannon students, faculty, staff, contractors and visitors on University owned, operated and leased property, unless the individual is within one of the designated tobacco areas identified on campus.

Additionally, the policy outlines several services to assist tobacco-users during the University’s transition to becoming tobacco-free, including designated areas where tobacco use will be permitted, cessation programs, referrals and resources that are free and readily available to Gannon community members.

“Employees and students have been supportive of the University’s responsibility to promote healthy lifestyles, including tobacco-free lifestyles, and have rallied around the notion that everybody has the right to breathe clean air,” said Mary Jean Taylor, PT, PhD, PCS, director of University Wellness. “It has been a very holistic planning experience in the sense that our campus community members have taken the effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke seriously and above all, have put caring for the health of others around them first.”

“Receiving the American Cancer Society grant and implementing the revised University tobacco policy are big wins for Gannon as well as our neighboring Erie community in the transition to becoming tobacco-free,” said Taylor.

As just one of seven colleges or universities in Pennsylvania to have received the grant and its vital resources, Gannon University recognized its responsibility and the opportunity as downtown Erie’s university to maximize these resources for the benefit of our neighboring Erie community. The University has collaborated with the Erie County Office and is continuing to assist in the County’s current study that is underway to assess transitioning public parks, such as Perry Square and Griswold Park, to become smoke-free.
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