Students will be able to breathe easier when they return to Western Nevada College campuses this fall.
Responding to a policy promoting a healthier working and learning environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors, WNC is eliminating exposure to second-hand smoke and confining the use of nicotine and vapor products to designated outdoor areas on its three campuses.
Ultimately, WNC envisions joining more than 1,475 colleges and universities around the U.S. that have already adopted a tobacco-free policy.
“We have a newly named Healthy Campus Committee that has established a goal for WNC being completely tobacco-free by the fall of 2017,” said Mark Ghan, WNC’s Vice President of Administrative and Legal Services. “We see this as a one-year transition period where we educate faculty and staff and prepare them for a tobacco-free campus.”
Truth Initiative, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring tobacco-free lives, has provided WNC with a one-year grant of $10,000 to assist the college with its tobacco-free campus education campaign.
“We are hoping that with cooperation from faculty, staff and students that this process will be seamless as we shift to a healthier campus,” said Rebecca Bevans, a WNC adjunct faculty member who is shepherding the initiative forward. “We will be doing our best to educate our campus on ways to live a healthier, tobacco-free life. We are all very confident with the support of the entire campus community that this will be a very positive move forward for WNC.”
WNC’s tobacco-free campus policies are in accordance with the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act — established in 2006 — which states that smoking tobacco in any form is prohibited within indoor places of employment, including government buildings and public places. The buildings on WNC’s campuses are considered government buildings.
Approximately 20 percent of students, staff and faculty use some type of tobacco product, according to Bevans. Thus far, Bevans said that the feedback on campus has been positive.
“By providing this interim policy, we hope to make the campus more aware of our shift to a tobacco-free campus and to allow those who are currently using tobacco to adjust to a tobacco-free and vapor-free campus,” she said.
Local organizations and agencies have been instrumental in helping WNC bring the tobacco-free initiative to life, including Carson City Health and Human Services, the American Heart Association ANCHOR Partnerships Program, Churchill Community Coalition, Partnership of Community Resources of Douglas County and the University of Nevada Reno.
Information about WNC’s Tobacco-Free initiative, including cessation information is available at www.wnc.edu/healthy-campus/