BSC tobacco ban goes into effect Sept. 1

Published 9:37 pm Friday, August 15, 2014

Bainbridge State College students can expect a smoke-and-tobacco-free campus when they return this fall.

In March of this year, the Georgia Board of Regents approved a tobacco ban for all University System of Georgia property and campuses, which includes BSC. The tobacco ban goes into effect Sept. 1 at BSC.

“The use of all forms of tobacco products on property owned, leased, rented, in the possession of, or in any way used by the USG or its affiliates is expressly prohibited,” according the USG policy.

Lisa Wimberly, BSC director of college relations, said that the college will remove all outdoor ashtrays and former smoking-designated areas before September. The college is also working to increase signage around campus to let students and visitors know that it is a tobacco-free campus.

“We will also offer avenues where (smokers) can get in touch with organizations that assist with quitting the use of tobacco and cessation,” Wimberly said.

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of premature and preventable death, responsible for more than 440,000 deaths a year in the United States,” according to the BoR. “Cigarette smoking alone is responsible for more deaths than HIV/AIDS, alcohol, motor vehicle crashes, homicide, suicide, illegal drugs and fires — combined.”

The BoR included e-cigarettes in the ban because there has been an increase in e-cigarette-related calls to poison centers, according to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention study.

The BoR cited a Georgia Department of Public Health study as the reason for including smokeless tobacco in the ban.

“The body absorbs three-to-four times the amount of nicotine from smokeless tobacco products compared to normal cigarettes,” according to the Georgia DPH study.

The BoR set October 1 as the deadline for school administrators and policy makers to enforce the ban, giving each school full control over how to enforce it.

According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, as of July 2014, there were more than 1,300 smoke-free college campuses, of which more than 900 are completely tobacco-free.