Skip to comments.Research group calls for tobacco ban (TX)
Posted on 02/10/2012 1:40:28 PM PST by Drango
Fumes from the Universitys tobacco policy have ignited conversation over the future of the substance on UT grounds.
Because of a new provision from one of the Universitys top research funders, UT will need to enact a tobacco-free policy or risk losing millions of research dollars.
The Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas, a voter-mandated organization that awards millions of research dollars each year to entities pursuing cancer research, released a statement on Feb. 2 stating it will now require all current and future grantees to create tobacco-free workplaces as a condition for accepting the Institutes funds. UT currently receives approximately $31 million for cancer research from the Institute and is applying for $88 million this year.
The Institute has given UT until March 1 to make appropriate policy changes.
In a campus-wide email on Wednesday, University officials said they will be meeting with various organizations on campus including Student Government, Faculty Council and Staff Council over the next two weeks to discuss policy options. University spokeswoman Adrienne Howarth-Moore said losing this money would be detrimental to the Universitys research endeavors.
Howarth-Moore said if the University adopts a tobacco-free policy by March 1, it will seek to support current tobacco users by providing education and resources.
Education, communication and helping people understand the reason behind the change is going to be a challenge, Howarth-Moore said. We dont just have a focus on research, but cancer research. We want to be able to eradicate cancer.
If adopted, the smoking ban will also restrict smoking and tobacco during times of sporting events and tailgates, Howarth-Moore said. Exceptions will only occur in special circumstances, such as when tobacco is used for research or as a prop in a fine arts production.
Current UT policy on tobacco only addresses smoking tobacco, which is not allowed in any University-owned or leased building or vehicle, but is allowed on campus as long as it is 20 feet away from a building entrance. UT-Arlington, UT-Brownsville and the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio are currently tobacco-free. Austin Community College, Huston-Tillotson University and Texas State University all banned tobacco use on campus last year.
In March 2011, UT President William Powers, Jr. said he opposed a campus-wide ban on smoking during an address to Staff Council. Powers said such a ban would overstep the limits a University should impose on its community.
What were doing is saying we are going to limit the freedom of the person who wants to smoke for the benefit of the people who dont want to be in a smoke-filled office or room, Powers said in the address, according to a March 2011 Daily Texan article.
Student Government passed a resolution in 2011 declaring UT to become generally smoke-free campus over a period of seven years. The resolution called for the creation of a taskforce to decide policy implementation and an expansion of the University Health Services student smoking cessation program Quitters to extend to faculty and staff. SG and the Student Organization Safety Board recently co-sponsored Tobacco Talks, a series of conversations with professionals and students on campus to discuss the negative effects of tobacco.
Philip Huang, medical director for the Austin-Travis County health and human services department, spoke at Tobacco Talks on Thursday and said many entities around Austin have implemented tobacco-free policies, including City of Austin libraries, Capital Metro and Austin Parks and Recreation centers. Huang said 70 percent of people surveyed by Travis County said they wanted to quit smoking and 60 percent of all litter in 32 Austin parks comes from tobacco, equaling to approximately 23,000 cigarette butts.
Huang said a tobacco-free policy is a step in the right direction for UT and that in four years incoming students will know no other policy.
A lot of it is changing social norms, Huang said. A lot of people put up with other peoples smoke but they hate it. People have more of a right to breathe clean air than smokers have the right to smoke.
Alfred McAlister, public health adjunct associate professor, said the Institutes decision will encourage administrators to consider a new tobacco policy. McAlister advised the UT Texas Public Health student organization in conducting a recent survey to gauge student opinion of smoking on campus.
Of the 1,551 respondents, 77 percent indicated they want a stronger tobacco policy at UT. Among the people who identified as smokers and took the survey, approximately 33 percent said they wanted stricter limits on tobacco use.
I imagine the survey results will convince President Powers that there is a lot more support for a new tobacco policy than he might have supposed, McAlister said. Its been a bit embarrassing for this University to be one of the last schools thats not tobacco free.
McAlister said some of the benefits of a tobacco-free campus would include less exposure to second-hand smoke and less tobacco litter. He said a ban would also help encourage smokers to quit and prevent some students from starting to smoke.
Thomas Haviland, public health senior and president of the UT Texas Public Health Organization, said there is a definite possibility UT will implement a tobacco-free policy on campus. Haviland said he has seen people violating the current policy all over campus and smoking within 20 feet of buildings, some of which contain ashtrays five feet away from their entrance.
Haviland said even though the Institutes decision plays a huge part in the administrations actions, the issue has been building up and needed to be addressed.
They had to do something, Haviland said. On top of student desire, health benefits and financial savings, a lot of people on campus really do want it.
The University of California system is going smoke free. It's good to see Texas making the same smart move.
At least a ban on tobacco is an honest policy.
Not like that of our current pols who bash tobacco out of one side of their mouth, while greedily sucking-up every penny of revenue they can get from it with the other.
I smoke and drink.I’m the one.
Right! There’s no reason to accommodate the poor bastard who wants to stand outside in the middle of the day to burn one. Just tell him to get his addicted ass off campus.
They know what ingredient in tobacco actually causes cancer.
It’s trace amounts of Polonium. The problem is that they don’t know how to remove it; so instead they simply don’t discuss it. It’s been a secret since the 1960s. Just google tobacco and polonium and check it out. What’s even more surprising it that tobacco grown in the Caucasus doesn’t contain Polonium.
And the next thing you know they will ban tail gating and drinking before football games. And shortly after that they will ban sugar in all forms and have Michelle O. come and teach them how to move.....Nanny state forever
**The University of California system is going smoke free. It’s good to see Texas making the same smart move. **
We welcome our Lizard Overlords...not.
Good point. I remember strip clubs use to hand the DOM (dirty old men) a sketch pad and a pencil and call it an art class.
So since standing out in the sun can cause cancer too will they ban that on campus too?
Listen. I smoke about 4 cigars a year so I’m not a smoker, but I hate to see people banning legal things just because they don’t like them. Sure tobacco causes cancer. The people who choose to smoke understand that and they do it anyway. It’s a legal drug and it’s their choice to imbibe in it.
I like whiskey. I drink every now and then. SO if some stooge comes along and says it causes liver problems and wants to ban it I should be OK with it because they are looking out for my health?
Funny how the people who want to legalize pot want to ban all the things others find give them a few minutes of pleasure in this screwed up world.
I’m not a smoker, but oppose the strong-arm tactics. Give the money back and tell the funder to take a hike. Freedom is for sale at UT-now we know the price. Sad...
Unfortunately, there isn’t any good way to get off the UT-Austin campus. Sooo, only choice is to cheat. If you make everything illegal, everyone’s a criminal. I notice no one brought up the issue of a grantor dictating policy to a World Class University. Texas should tell them to go pound sand in the name of academic freedom, but they won’t.
It has worked so well for Marijuana.......
The best way to get off the UT campus is get in a car and drive. I bet if one of their prized football recruits decided he would rather be somewhere else so he could light up there would be real pressure brought to bear.
What are they going to do about the students who want to burn a little weed? Ten bucks says they will get a pass.
LOL, at UT that’s not tobacco fumes they’re smelling.
They're worried about the students' health?!? Then how about doing something about the cesspool of STDs there? Ask any physician and they'll tell you UT is the worst campus for such diseases. Reputable gyns won't give the female students Merina or other implants because it tends to harbor nasties and causes more problems.
Remember a couple years ago when UT wasted the TX legislature's time and our tax dollars over the Top 10% rule? The UT president actually stated they'd have to do away with the football program if they had to continue to follow the Top 10% rule (never mind that it was UT's fault that the law was created). Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! As if, snort! After years of arguing over it all the state universities still have to abide by the rule except UT which was dropped to 8% to save Longhorn football. So, yeah, whatever the football department wants, the football department gets no matter the expense to anyone else.