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Eye On Boise

Fri., Aug. 24, 2012, 10:40 a.m.

ISU to go smoke-free campus-wide in September, joins BSU, but not UI

Idaho State University will ban smoking campus-wide starting in September, the Idaho State Journal reports, following a recommendation from student leaders, who passed  a resolution nearly a year ago backing the move. That means ISU will join Boise State in becoming a smoke-free campus; BSU enacted its ban in 2009. The University of Idaho has chosen not to go entirely smoke-free, instead enacting policies restricting smoking on campus but not banning it entirely. Other Idaho colleges banning smoking campus-wide include the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls and North Idaho College in Coeur d'Alene.

A campus survey at ISU showed only 8.8 percent of the campus community smokes daily; and 60.7 percent were in favor of ISU going completely smoke-free, with 15.7 percent neutral and 1 percent with no opinion. The campus plans to offer smoking-cessation aid in conjunction with the ban; click below for the full ISU news release.

ISU news release:

POCATELLO – Effective Sept. 1, Idaho State University will join more than 800 other post-secondary institutions across the country as a Smoke Free Campus.

The decision came after reviewing the survey results of faculty, staff and students who were asked about ISU’s role in regard to smoking and whether ISU should be smoke free. The survey, developed and conducted under the direction of Galen Louis, assistant professor and director of ISU’s Public Health Program, indicated that only 8.8 percent of ISU’s community smokes daily.

Nearly 70 percent said that they thought “the University should see this as a health issue and support policies to maintain clean air environments for all university personnel.” In addition, 60.7 percent were in favor of ISU going completely smoke-free with 15.7 percent neutral and 1 percent with no opinion. The ISU survey also supports the findings of previous surveys conducted by the Bannock County Health Department.

Smoking cessation workshops will be available through Student Health Services and the ISU Wellness Center. In addition, smoking cessation patches are covered by the Student Health Fee for students and by the University’s health insurer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Idaho.

“This is the culmination of a resolution adopted almost 11 months ago by ASISU urging ISU to go totally smoke free,” said Shaun Stokes, immediate past president of the Associated Students of ISU. “Although there was some discussion about a modified smoke-free campus, in the end we felt that allowing smoking anywhere on campus defeated the purpose of having clean air environments. And building external structures for smoking limited to certain areas of the campus seemed a poor choice of resources.”

ISU President Arthur C. Vailas commented on the University’s new smoke-free status.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to implement ASISU’s recommendation,” Vailas said. “As the higher education institution in Idaho that offers the largest number of programs in the health professions, this new policy is consistent with our focus on health and wellness.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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