How is Armstrong’s policy regarding tobacco changing?
Armstrong has officially announced its intention to become a tobacco-free campus, which means smoking and the use of tobacco products will no longer be allowed anywhere on campus.
When will this change take effect?
The tobacco-free campus policy will officially take effect on August 1, 2012, at the start of the Fall 2012 semester.

Why is Armstrong becoming a tobacco-free campus?
Armstrong is dedicated to ensuring the health and wellness of everyone on campus. By eliminating second-hand smoke and banning the use of tobacco products, Armstrong is underscoring its commitment to providing a healthy learning environment for students and a healthy work environment for faculty and staff. Armstrong’s new policy supports the City of Savannah Smoke-Free Air Ordinance of 2010, which is already in effect throughout the Savannah area.

Which tobacco products are prohibited from campus?
The new policy bans cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and other tobacco products as well as electronic cigarettes.

How did this decision come about?
The Student Government Association originally made the recommendation for Armstrong to become a tobacco-free campus in 2010. Soon after that, the Faculty Senate passed a similar resolution which was presented to President Bleicken for consideration. In August of 2011, a Tobacco Control Task Force was formed to solicit input from various campus constituents and to allow the opportunity for all voices to be heard as part of the process. Membership in the task force included a broad constituency of faculty, staff, and students as well as community partners. At the conclusion of its mission, the task force presented the president with a summary of the data collected, along with three viable options for the policy decision.
What was the purpose of the campus survey?
The purpose of the survey was to gather information and examine attitudes about tobacco use on campus to help the Task Force with its work.  
On November 17, 2011, the task force presented Dr. Bleicken with a formal document, “Recommendations for Campus Policy Revision,” reflecting a summary of the entire process utilized by the group during the four months of data collection.  The campus survey data was one of the components of the report, as it was summarized and subsequently incorporated into three options for consideration:  multiple factors informed the recommendations.  Three options were provided for consideration:
Option #1:  Revise the existing tobacco policy to designate the Armstrong campus as a smoke-free environment with designated smoking areas.  This was supported by 36% of survey respondents.
Option #2:  Revise the existing tobacco policy to designate the Armstrong campus as a 100% tobacco-free environment.   This was supported by 29% of survey respondents.  Although not formally stated in the task force’s report, this data was supplemented by an additional 9.5% who supported a smoke-free environment without designated smoking areas (i.e., smoking not permitted at all on campus).  In essence, this means almost 39% of survey respondents were in favor of policy change to completely exclude smoking on campus, with three-fourths of these constituents favoring the more exclusive choice of eliminating all tobacco products.
Option #3:  No change to the existing policy.  This was supported by 25% of survey respondents.
 What was the role of the task force in the decision-making process?
The Task Force The task force simply served as the data collector during the process, gathering information, surveying campus constituents, researching best practices, examining policies at other institutions and engaging community organizations in the process. The Task Force reported its findings to the President on November 17, 2011.
Where can I find a copy of the new policy?
The new tobacco-free policy can be found on the tobacco initiative web page.

How will the policy be communicated to the campus?
Communication about the new policy will be consistent and ongoing around the Armstrong campus.    Signage will begin to appear in mid-July, starting with permanent street signs at all entrance points, major intersections, parking lots, etc.  Temporary signs will be placed in highly visible locations all around campus before the start of each semester to remind newcomers, as well as returning students, faculty, and staff, about the policy.  

New students are being advised of the policy during NAVIGATE sessions over the summer.  This practice will continue in the future for student orientation activities.  New faculty and staff are being advised of the policy during their orientation as new hires.  

The new policy will be included in documents such as student, faculty, and staff handbooks.  There will be posters and window labels around campus in visible locations.  Visitors who are attending events on-campus (e.g., athletic events, presentations, community activities) will be reminded of the new policy via signage, announcements, and other forms of communication as appropriate for the event.  

The initiative will maintain a web page dedicated to electronic communication for current information and announcements.  This will be the starting point to access details about tobacco policy-related activities and available resources, such as cessation materials, class registration, etc.  It will also be the location to ask questions (which will be addressed in the FAQs), and report concerns and overall feedback (which will be forwarded to the Tobacco Policy Implementation Team for resolution).

How will the new tobacco policy be enforced?

This is probably the most frequently-asked question about the new policy.  Expert sources indicate that tobacco policy enforcement is most effective when based on qualities of respect for each other and for the environment, rather than being punitive in nature.  Therefore, enforcement during the first semester (Fall 2012) will adhere to this model of mutual respect.  

We hope that all members of our Armstrong community will be good campus citizens by demonstrating compliance with the policy.  It is our hope that this model will be adequate.

The Tobacco Policy Implementation Team will review feedback at the end of Fall Semester 2012 regarding compliance and the potential need for additional attention to enforcement practices.  Should there be any serious enforcement issues requiring resolution, a corrective action plan will be devised, based upon the need.  The campus community will be informed of any enforcement changes, should this occur.

What should I do if I see someone smoking or using tobacco products on campus?
The enforcement model is based upon mutual respect and good citizenship within Armstrong’s campus community. Should you see someone violating the tobacco policy, you are welcome to politely remind the person about the tobacco-free policy. All members of the Tobacco Policy Implementation Team will have small reminder cards available for anyone who would like to have cards to distribute for a courteous reminder to offenders as needed. However, most people do not feel comfortable doing this, and it is certainly not an expectation.

Another approach will be to report the violation anonymously via the tobacco policy web page. One of the most important details to provide will be the location of the violation. This will enable the Tobacco Policy Implementation Team to assess whether there are any specific areas on campus that need follow-up to promote better enforcement.

It is important to recognize that enforcement should always be respectful, discreet, and positive, NOT confrontational and negative.

What about students, faculty and staff who need help to quit smoking?
Armstrong will offer ongoing information to student, faculty, and staff to encourage tobacco cessation initiatives.  The university is dedicated to helping members of the Armstrong community quit smoking and eliminate tobacco use.

What tobacco cessation resources will be available for those who wish to quit using tobacco products?
Armstrong will offer Fresh Start smoking/tobacco cessation classes on an ongoing basis for all members of the campus community, including students, faculty, and staff.  Each class will be a series of 3 one-hour sessions within one week.  Registration will be required for planning purposes, and there will be no cost to participate.

Two Fresh Start classes are scheduled during the summer prior to the start of Fall Semester 2012:

  • Session One:  June 25, 26, & 27; University Hall Room 282; 11:30am-12:30pm for all 3 days.
  • Session Two:  July 9, 10, & 11; University Hall Room 282; 11:30am-12:30pm for all 3 days.

There will be additional Fresh Start classes scheduled during Fall Semester 2012.  The schedule will be posted on the tobacco web page as information becomes available.