Students had the opportunity to show their support for the UCF Smoke-Free Campus policy by helping to clean up cigarette trash around the main campus. This was the fourth year that the UCF Student Health Advisory Committee hosted this event. Events such as this serve as a reminder to the UCF community of the importance of adhering to not smoking cigarettes while on campus.
“We think it is important to keep the smoke-free policy visible” said Sahana Prabhudeva, president of SHAC. “This is a fun event which allows students to show their support for a smoke-free campus
The UCF Smoke-Free policy, which went into effect August of 2012, bans smoking of any kind on campus. Since UCF went smoke-free, Valencia College, Florida State University and Seminole State College have also joined the more than 1,475 universities and colleges in the nation with smoke-free, or tobacco-free, policies in place. When UCF made the change, all out-door cigarette butt receptacles on campus were removed. Mary Schmidt-Owens, co-chair for UCF Smoke-free Committee, said that keeping the receptacles would have sent conflicting messages, so it was decided to remove all receptacles on campus.
Schmidt-Owens continues to monitor the campus climate by administering the ACHA-NCHA II (American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment) which collects data about the UCF students’ habits, behaviors, and perceptions on the most prevalent health topics, cigarette use included.
Over the past five years (2011-2015) students who report any use of cigarette use in the past 30 days has gone from 10.7% (2011) to 4.5% (2015) and students reporting daily use went from 3.6% (2011) to 1.7% (2015). “It is encouraging to see these numbers continue to drop among our student population” said Schmidt-Owens.
Student Health Services continues to offer smoking cessation support to all students, faculty and staff who are interested in quitting. The smoke free campaign materials are also available to place in departments and buildings throughout campus.
“The continued success of this campuswide initiative takes the help and support of everyone here at UCF” said Schmidt-Owens. For more information regarding smoking cessation classes or smoke free campaign materials, contact: [email protected].