EWU pushes smoke-free campus

By Rosie Perry, Staff Writer

ASEWU and the Peer Health Educators have initiated a smoke-free campaign for EWU.

Alexandra Rich, EWU senior and Peer Health Educator vice president, adopted the idea that EWU can become a smoke-free campus as her personal goal.

Rich said she feels it is time EWU joined the 1,475 campuses across the country who have become 100 percent smoke-free.

“It’s time to make a positive change for Eastern,” Rich said.

The current policy on EWU’s Cheney campus is the same as the Washington Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibits smoking in public places or places of employment and requires smokers to be at least 25 feet from doors or windows leading indoors.

However, EWU’s Spokane campus is a smoke-free campus since it falls under the jurisdiction of WSU, which is a newly listed smoke-free campus. Rich said she feels the policy change should come easily since it is already being enforced in Spokane.

Rich has been taking steps to enact this policy since the 2014-2015 school year when she worked as the student health and safety services representative on ASEWU. This year that position was taken over by EWU senior Katie Sweeney. Sweeney said she believes in the cause and is looking forward to the results of their hard work.

Students from the two organizations have been gathering signatures in support of the policy change. Both Rich and Sweeney said they want the change to reflect not only what they believe in, but what students say they want as well.
“We want to emphasize that we are gauging what the students want and then presenting that to the [board of trustees],” Rich said.

The final decision on exactly what the policy says will come from the board of trustees. Rich said she hopes to gather enough support and information on the subject for the board to review their findings in early March 2016.

According to the American College Health Association, approximately 9 to 12 percent of EWU students are regular smokers. Based on this information, Rich said they are pushing for a smoke-free campus will have smoking shelters on the outskirts of campus.

Opting for smoke-free as opposed to tobacco-free means strictly cigarettes will not be permitted, and chewing tobacco and e-cigarettes would not be included. However, the board will decide what will or will not be banned.

According to the Tobacco Free College Campus Initiative, of the 1,475 smoke-free campuses, 1,128 have opted to be fully tobacco-free. In addition, 802 campuses also prohibit the use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, anywhere on campus.