Students, faculty, staff and visitors will breathe easier as Green River Community College’s ban on tobacco goes into effect on New Year’s Day.
The new policy means that the use of any tobacco products including cigarettes and e-cigarettes, cigars or pipes, and smokeless or chewing tobacco are prohibited on any Green River property. Users will still be able to smoke or use tobacco in their personal vehicles.
“A tobacco-free campus creates a healthier environment for all of us and will hopefully help people who want to quit using tobacco,” said Green River President Eileen Ely.
Green River is the fourth Washington state community college to ban tobacco use and the second in less than four months. Everett Community College went tobacco-free on Sept. 1.
President Eileen Ely announced the policy the week before the start of fall quarter on Sept. 18. Since then, Green River has been preparing the college community for the implementation of the policy through outreach activities, health fairs and promotion of smoking cessation options.
More than 70 percent of Green River students voted in favor of a smoking ban during the 2011 campus elections. Students, faculty and staff cite that many people choose not to use the designated smoking areas and frequently smoke on their way to classes. Facilities management spends a lot of time cleaning up cigarette butts and chewing tobacco spittle all across campus in entryways, stairwells and on walkways.
Green River will become the ninth Washington college campus to go 100 percent smoke-free. According to the American Lung Association, more than 285 schools nationwide ban tobacco use.