Students, faculty and administrators from Oregon State University-Cascades and Central Oregon Community College have put together a tobacco free task force.
The group is made up of 10 members who meet regularly.
“We meet every three weeks,” said the chair of the task force Annemarie Hamlin.
The group is being charged with researching and gathering information about COCC and OSU-Cascades’ current tobacco use policies, enforcement problems of it and reviewing policies of other colleges.
“We are at a point where we are gathering information,” said task member Taran Underdal.
Research by the group has concluded that some other colleges currently have different policies. COCC and OSU-Casacdes’ policies include no smoking, whereas the other colleges are tobacco use-free.
“Four other colleges in Oregon are now tobacco use-free,” said Hamlin.
The group is wondering if it would be beneficial for our campuses to become tobacco-use free.
However, there is a problem with enforcing the existing no-smoking policies.
“Many people are not following the one in place and neighbors as well as other students and faculty have complained about tobacco use,” said Hamlin.
People are not currently following the campuses’ non-smoking policies, according to Hamlin. Policy language may be one reason why some people don’t follow it, however, it is not certain that this is the reason.
Further research and data is needed to make a good decision about policy language and enforcement.
“We are looking to pursue the best policy possible,” said Underdal.
Current COCC policy states smoking is only allowed in two places: campus parking lots or 25 feet away from a building, if the parking lot is connected to the building.
The group’s purpose in researching COCC and OSU-Cascades’ policies and comparing them to other colleges policies on the subject of tobacco-use is so that they can find out which policies may work best.
Future data and research may help the group decide whether or not COCC and OSU-Cascades should go tobacco use-free.
“Our goal is to come up with something by the end of May,” said Underdal.