The entire West Virginia University Health Sciences Center (HSC) campus is now tobacco free, after WVU Board of Governors’ approval of a new policy June 4.
As a result of widespread support from employees and students, the Board approved the policy, effective immediately, which prohibits all use of tobacco products in any form on sidewalks, roads, parking areas and green spaces. All buildings have been smoke free for many years.
The new HSC policy complements tobacco-free policies adopted by WVU Hospitals, University Health Associates and HealthSouth Mountainview in November 2009, and existing regulations at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, to create an all-campus tobacco-free zone. There are no designated smoking areas, indoors or out.
Chancellor Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., thanked the Board of Governors for responding positively to the outpouring of support from health professionals and students for this change.
“We are obligated, as West Virginia’s leading institution for health, to set an example for others,” Colenda said. “Eliminating the use of tobacco and the exposure of our employees, students and visitors to second-hand smoke isn’t just the popular thing to do – it’s the right thing to do.”
Tobacco-free signage is being installed at campus entrances and other locations to alert employees and visitors of the policies for all health sciences campus entities.
The Wellness Program at health sciences has arranged for all employees, including spouses, who are West Virginia residents, to receive free nicotine replacement therapy and counseling for a limited time, through the West Virginia Quitline. Classes and workshops will also be offered to employees.
CONTACT: Amy Johns, HSC News Service