Change is in the Air!

USF launches its designated smoking areas on March 20, part of an effort to create a healthier environment.

USF students Liliana Ibarra, Rebecca Canfield and Lola Rios (l-r) generated awareness for the smoking changes at a recent Bull Market.

Special to USF News

TAMPA, Fla. (March 9, 2012) – Change is in the Air!

When students return to the University of South Florida Tampa campus after Spring Break, something will be distinctly different. Starting on March 20th, smoking will be restricted on the grounds, parking lots, buildings and property under the control of USF Tampa, with the exception of 25 designated smoking areas.

This change comes after months of analysis, planning and preparation that started when a task force, appointed by President Judy Genshaft in February 2011, examined USF smoking behaviors and preferences and recommended that USF Tampa limit smoking in order to reduce the health risks of secondhand smoke inhalation. The work groups charged with implementing the policy included students, faculty and staff, smokers and non-smokers alike, from a broad range of disciplines and areas across campus.

“By taking this step, we are creating a healthier, more enjoyable environment that many of our students, faculty and staff have requested,” said Sandy Lovins, vice president for administrative services. “We want all members of the USF community, smokers and nonsmokers, to be respectful of one another during this transition, recognizing that change takes time.”

A new website, www.usf.edu/smoking, has been developed to communicate the changes and smoking area locations. Both smokers and nonsmokers are encouraged to visit the website to become familiar with the policy and smoking area map. As with any change, it will take time, education and patience to fully transition to new behaviors. Complaints about student violations can be filed through Student Rights & Responsibilities. For faculty and staff violations, complaints should be made directly to the employee’s supervisor.

The dependence to tobacco products can be very difficult to overcome. USF offers many free resources for students, faculty, staff, vendors and visitors who wish to quit smoking. If you or someone you know would like to quit smoking, we encourage you to review the support that USF and its community partners can provide.

“It’s an exciting time at USF, and the ‘healthier campus’ initiatives offer a tremendous opportunity to strengthen our commitment to creating an environment where healthier living matters,” Lovins said.