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Smoke Free UCF

We see it all over the news, hear about it on campus and even read about it; but we will no longer be inhaling it. UCF has officially become a smoke-free campus. Even if you are not a smoker, this policy directly affects you!

UCF has joined about 640 other college campuses to become tobacco free, according to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation. UCF is now providing a smoke-free environment for its faculty, staff, students and visitors. This policy was put into effect on the first day of the fall semester, August 20.

The policy did not come easily. It took three years for the smoke-free initiative to be passed. UCF finally received a $123,000 grant to help start pushing its “Catch Your Breath” campaign. Then, on Oct. 27, 2011, UCF president John Hitt declared that UCF would become smoke free in his State of the University address.

“This move aligns us with several community partners, such as Orange County government and Florida Hospital, who are already heading in this positive direction,” Hitt said, according to the Future.

Hitt’s goal of this new smoke-free policy is to promote the health and comfort of the university community, not to scorn those that smoke. Scientific research validates that it is not only smoking that leads to cancer and other diseases. Secondhand smoke can be just as detrimental to our bodies. We hear this all the time, but do we actually do something about it?

It is extremely hard to tell someone to put out a cigarette. However, the policy is implemented through students and employees being ambassadors for the smoke-free initiative. Yes, that means you! You are the one that can make a difference. The question is how you go about it.

There is no fine or penalty for smoking on campus. If it is your friend, it is easier to ask him or her to put out a cigarette than a stranger. But what if you see someone else smoking on campus? Do you awkwardly walk up to them and ask them in an almost monotone, kind of squeaky voice to put out their cigarette while hiding behind your Longshamp bag? Honestly, they will probably laugh in your face and walk away. You are left there feeling like an idiot. Sweet.

Another option is to go up to them standing upright with a “can’t touch this” attitude, grab the cigarette like a boss, throw it on the ground and stomp on it. That would more than likely lead you to a black eye. And concealer is expensive enough as is.

Luckily, there is a third option that UCF asks of you. UCF encourages you to politely explain the policy and ask the smoker to comply. It may be intimidating, but it is in the best interest of the community, and ultimately, in the best interest of yourself.

You may have friends that smoke, or you may be a smoker yourself. A significant part of the college experience is about experimentation. UCF is not trying to tell you how to live your personal life. They are, however, asking you to be respectful of the community and the people you share it with. The initiative supports the rights and privileges of both smokers and non-smokers.

If you want to check out more information, here is a link to the actual initiative signed by President Hitt: http://smokefree.sdes.ucf.edu/docs/ucf_smoke_free_policy.pdf

If you want information or help to quit smoking, UCF has on-campus and community resources. Check it out at: http://smokefree.sdes.ucf.edu/quit

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