Five months after Northeastern assembled a committee to explore the possibility of implementing a campus-wide smoke-free policy, the decision has been made to move forward with the ban. This fall, the university will join the more than 1,100 institutions across the country who have taken similar steps.
“This new policy reflects Northeastern’s long-standing commitment to promoting a healthy and safe environment,” said Terry Fulmer, dean of the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, in a memo sent to the community Monday, according to news@Northeastern.
Fulmer serves as co-chair of the committee, working alongside Professor John Auerbach, director of Northeastern’s Institute on Urban Health Research.
The 10-member committee, comprised of students, staff and faculty, hosted two campuswide town-hall meetings in an effort to solicit feedback and bring the community into the conversation. A dedicated website was also set up to gather feedback, and informal surveys were sent out.
“Feedback from the Northeastern community was extraordinarily helpful and important,” Fulmer said. “We even heard from parents near and far who thanked us for looking into the issue.”
They also heard from experts at the local, state and federal levels who helped shape the committee’s ultimate decision to go smoke-free.
Based on the feedback, a new, evidence-based program called Ready to Quit! was made available in February. According to news@Northeastern, individuals who participate in the program:
… receive encouraging text messages that support a tobacco-free lifestyle and benefit from weekly follow-up phone calls and coaching meetings twice a month with a registered nurse. They also have the opportunity to meet with a behavioral health therapist for concerns about quitting.
Roughly 443,000 people die annually from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What’s more, tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disability, disease and death in the country.
Now, Northeastern is doing their part to aid in the prevention.