Photo by Katie Kurka | Staff Photographer
Drake University is trying to clear the smoke out of students’ eyes one step at a time.
The campus has recently updated its tobacco-free campus policy to include any tobacco or tobacco-like products, which includes, but is not limited to, chewing tobacco, snuff, snus and vaporizers.
Drake University’s Assistant Director of Health and Fitness Linda Feiden said a change in the policy had been in discussion various times recently.
“We reviewed (the policy) again this year as more colleges and universities in Iowa and across the country have instituted similar policies,” Feiden said.
The other institutions include Grinnell College, Iowa’s state universities and Des Moines Area Community College.
Junior Adam Scheurenbrand said he was surprised the new policy was not in place already.
“I thought there was already a no tobacco policy at school,” Scheurenbrand said.
Feiden explained the policy helped the campus prevent “the single most preventable form of disease, disabilities and death,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Eliminating smoking alone addresses just part of the health concerns,” Feiden said.
According to the National Cancer Institute, at least 28 chemicals in smokeless tobacco products have been found to cause cancer. Chewing tobacco results in hazardous waste and byproducts, which campus facilities then have to dispose of.
“A tobacco-free policy is a step in the direction to create a healthier environment for everyone,” Feiden said.
Scheurenbrand said he thinks the new policy gives the university a brand that looks healthy.
“I guess they’re trying to send the message of having as healthy of a campus as possible,” Scheurenbrand said.
Feiden also said the policy encourages students, employees and visitors to curb their tobacco product use.
“By changing the environment, choosing a tobacco-free life is encouraged and supported,” she said. “If a student is thinking about quitting, they may visit the Student Health Center to discuss tobacco cessation resources.”
Scheurenbrand expressed doubt about how the university could help prevent tobacco addiction.
However, Feiden said tobacco reliance could also be lessened on campus through a variety of methods, such as tobacco prevention education and resources and tobacco cessation programs.