People on the St. Catharine College campus will be able to breathe a little easier after July 1. That’s when a new tobacco-free policy goes into effect for all students, faculty, staff and visitors. The policy targets all forms of tobacco, including smokeless tobacco products.
The St. Catharine Roundtable, consisting of representatives from the St. Catharine Motherhouse, St. Catharine Farm, Sansbury Care Center and St. Catharine College, has been working for more than a year to develop a policy and implementation plan to move the St. Catharine campus to a tobacco-free environment.
“While the policy and implementation plan reflects much compromise to meet the different needs of all four entities, we intend for this to be the first of several initiatives developed and implemented to promote and improve wellness for all on our campus,” said Roger Marcum, executive vice-president at St. Catharine College.
According to a 2009 report from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky has the highest smoking-related death rate.
Marcum added, “The use of tobacco is the leading preventable cause of premature death in the United States, therefore the St. Catharine Roundtable is convinced the first place to begin our journey toward promoting and improving wellness should begin with providing a tobacco-free campus.”
The full policy reads as follows: “In keeping with St. Catharine Roundtable’s intent to provide a safe and healthful working and learning environment, tobacco use is not permitted on the grounds of Sansbury Care Center, St. Catharine Motherhouse, St. Catharine Farm and St. Catharine College, or in any of the vehicles owned by any of the before mentioned entities. Tobacco may only be used in an individual’s own personal vehicle. Tobacco products means all forms of tobacco, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes (hookahs), electronic cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco products. This policy applies to all individuals, including but not limited to staff, students, faculty, volunteers, customers, contractors, and visitors to the campus. Effective: July 1, 2011.”
In order to make the transition to a tobacco-free campus smoother, St. Catharine College has partnered with the Washington County Health Department to offer free Cooper/Clayton Method smoking cessation classes to all faculty, staff and students.
“While there will be no sanctions for non-compliance, the clear expectation will be respect for the policy and full compliance,” Marcum said. “The St. Catharine Roundtable is confident that staff, students, faculty and others will recognize the need for and importance of providing a safe and healthful working and learning environment.”
While the current policy states tobacco may be used in an individual’s personal vehicle, Marcum added that within three years, the plan is to make the St. Catharine Campus completely tobacco-free.
“Within three years, the intent of the St. Catharine Roundtable is for a totally tobacco-free campus,” he said.