Smoking Distance
Smoke-free zone around entryways moves to 25 feet

Walker Health Center staff with smoking cessation materialsThe college has increased the no-smoking perimeter around building entryways and windows to 25 feet, at the same time calling new attention to cessation opportunities for all campus tobacco users.

The move comes as SUNY Oswego prepares to open the $118 million Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation, under construction to LEED Gold guidelines that specify such a policy.

The new smoking rule increases from 20 to 25 feet the distance smokers need to stay from building entrances and exits, and adds windows, air intakes and docks to the 25-foot zone. There is no smoking in campus buildings.

Messages indicating the new no-smoking perimeter will appear soon on receptacles, digital signage and other outlets.

The signs also will carry the words “Smoke-free Oswego 2014.” Faculty, student and staff members of the cross-campus Clean Air Committee, meeting since October 2011 to consider the evolution of campus smoking policy, are considering a smoke-free, tobacco-free policy, such as ones adopted at more than 700 colleges and universities across the nation. There is yet no formal recommendation, but the committee plans to continue its research, including campus surveys, focus groups and consultation with representatives of other institutions.

As the college adopts the “25-foot rule” just ahead of the opening of the Shineman Center and a new Rice Creek Field Station this fall, the committee now launches a new round of promotion for kicking the habit, according to Jim Scharfenberger, dean of students and chair of the Clean Air Committee.

“In our efforts to support the educational mission of the college and to provide a safe, clean and healthy living and learning environment, the college will provide cessation assistance or guidance to those who wish to stop smoking,” Scharfenberger said.

Liz Burns, nurse practitioner and director of Mary Walker Health Center, encourages students who want to stop using tobacco in any form to call for an appointment with registered nurse Donna Jerrett, a member of the Clean Air Committee, at 312-4100.

Faculty and staff members may contact the New York Smokers’ Quitline, 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit www.nysmokefree.com. Oswego Health also sponsors a free online quit-smoking program with support from certified cessation counselors; call 349-5513 to register.

PHOTO CAPTION: Butt out—Mary Walker Health Center Director Liz Burns, left, and student employee Katelyn Woodruff display smoking-cessation aids available to students at no cost. The center provides cessation counseling and nicotine-replacement aids by appointment. Faculty and staff who wish to quit using tobacco in any form may contact the New York Smokers’ Quitline, 1-866-NYQUITS.

(Posted: Apr 19, 2013)