UC President Mark Yudof has requested that chancellors at all 10 campuses form committees to implement a smoke-free policy that also bans the use, sale and promotion of tobacco products on University property.
"As a national leader in health care and environmental practices, the University of California is ready to demonstrate leadership in reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke by creating a smoke-free environment on all of our campuses," Yudof wrote in a letter to chancellors on Jan. 9. "Aleady the UC Medical Centers are smoke-free and nationally, 586 other university campuses are smoke-free."
Yudof asked that all UC campuses implement a smoke-free policy within the next two years. The policy will apply to all UC faciliites, whether owned or leased. Enforcement would be primarily educational, with an emphasis on offering cessation resources.
Enforcing UCSF's Smoke-Free Policy a Work in Progress
UCSF has worked to be a smoke-free campus since 2008 when it removed its only two designated smoking areas and joined a growing number of 100 percent smoke-free health care institutions, including UC medical centers at UC Davis and UC Irvine.
UCSF first took the step to limit smoking on July 1, 2005, when it implemented a policy prohibiting smoking on campus grounds except for two designated smoking areas. The designated smoking areas were then removed in 2008 after UCSF scientists and staff urged campus leadership to protect the UCSF community from the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke.
Enforcement at UCSF, however, has been a work in progress. Although the UCSF policy prohibits employees, students, patients and visitors from smoking on UCSF owned or leased properties, some people still do.
UCSF's no-smoking policy has had negative impacts on neighbors, especially those around the Parnassus campus. People wearing UCSF identification badges reportedly congregate in front of homes to smoke, leaving piles of cigarette butts behind. Educational outreach, signage and clean-up efforts have had little visible effect so far, but UCSF continues to strategize and implement measures the help keep the neighbors healthy as well.
The University continues to promote healthy living by offering various programs. UCSF's Living Well Initiative, for example, is offering the Quit for Life Smoking Cessation Program sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the Alere Wellbeing program for free to all UCSF faculty, staff and students.
The Quit for Life program teaches the techniques and offers the tools necessary to take the steps to quit using tobacco products. To join or get more information about the program, call 1-866-QUIT-4-LIFE (866/784-8454) or visit www.quitnow.net.
The UCSF Tobacco Cessation Center, which is staffed by nurses and pharmacists who are specially trained in treating tobacco dependence, is another campus resource. The center provides group programs designed to give peer support to kick the habit. To enroll, call 415/885-7895 or visit www.ucsfhealth.org/tobaccotreatment.