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Southern Miss transitions into tobacco free campus

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - CVS Health Foundation and the American Cancer Society awarded a grant for $20,000 to USM. The grant will be used to create a culture of wellness through University initiatives and programing in which students, faculty, staff, and community members can enjoy an environment free of smoking, vaping, and other tobacco use.

"What that will entail is no tobacco use on campus, whether it be cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaping, oral tobacco like suff or dip,” said Moffit Health Center Health Educator, Kayla Johnson.

Following a student led-initiative, which students voted in favor of a tobacco free campus; preliminary efforts include creating awareness through educational programming and a media campaign, the installment of signs, and the promotion of cessation resources available to those desiring to quit using tobacco. Funding from the grant will also be used to train members of the USM community to actively assist in tobacco cessation efforts.

“With that grant we are really hoping to be able to use that for educational purposes so we can educate people about the dangers of tobacco, why it is potentially harmful for your health, especially with long term use. Then we also want to create awareness about these policies,”

University health officials are currently working with the school's pharmacy to provide nicotine patches and gum for those who may want to take the initial steps of quitting.

“We do have a full service pharmacy and apart of that full service pharmacy they have some selection of over the counter options. So instead of running to another pharmacy in town and having to fight through traffic or going to a department store, or going somewhere like Wal-Mart, then they can just pop in here and just have access to those little necessities if you will,”

The policy will rely on self-governance. The success of this policy depends upon the thoughtfulness, consideration and cooperation of tobacco and non-tobacco users. The responsibility for the enforcement and communication of this policy ultimately rests with all members of the University community. Concerns about tobacco use should be respectfully addressed in the moment whenever feasible. Faculty, staff, students, volunteers, contractors and visitors who observe individuals using tobacco on University property are encouraged and empowered to respectfully explain that its use is prohibited by the University’s Tobacco-Free Policy and that information is available through the Moffitt Health Center about smoking cessation programs.



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