West Virginia University’s smoking task force identified several focus areas and discussed holding future public forums during its first official gathering on Thursday (Jan. 21).

The 11-member task force was formed by WVU President James P. Clements in early December to examine the University’s existing smoking policy, which was created in 1990. The current policy bans smoking in University buildings, although exceptions can be made for residence halls.

During the meeting, task force members decided to hold forums or town meetings in the coming months to hear student, faculty and staff concerns, said task force chair C.B. Wilson, WVU’s associate provost.

“We will also be inviting other individuals to talk to us, answer our questions and share their concerns during our regular meetings,” Wilson added.

Task force members identified several topics that they plan to bring in experts to offer insight and have further conversation. Experts include government, housing and health officials, among others.

Issues that will be further discussed include: what constitutes University property, policies for visitors/venders on campus, policies for parking lots during football games, policies for regional campuses, possible smoking cessation programs, etc.

“There are a whole host of things that we might get into, depending on the direction we go,” Wilson said.

To get an idea of what constitutes University property, Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Services Randy Hudak brought several maps to the meeting for task force members to review.

Task force members also plan to review smoking policies at other institutions.

“Who knows where we will go at this stage. There are a variety of things we need to assess,” Wilson said.

The next meeting of the task force is scheduled for early February.

To view WVU’s current smoking policy, visit http://ehs.wvu.edu/r/download/23427 .



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