South Florida State College Tobacco Free Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Tobacco-Free College initiative?
To promote the health and well-being of students, visitors, and employees, all South Florida State College (SFSC) facilities, including leased facilities, and all grounds/parking areas, will become tobacco-free effective Aug. 1, 2011. Simply stated, students, employees, and visitors will not be permitted to use tobacco products on any SFSC campus or site.
More specifically, the Tobacco-Free College policy adopted by the SFSC District Board of Trustees prohibits the use, distribution, or sale of tobacco or any object or device intended to simulate tobacco use, in all indoor and exterior areas of each campus, center, and other property under the control of the college.
Why have a tobacco-free campus environment?
SFSC is invested not only in academic achievement, but also in developing life skills that promote individual and civic wellness. The college has a responsibility to its students and employees to provide a safe and healthful environment, and to act in a manner that is consistent with the educational message offered in its classes. Results from statistically validated surveys distributed to SFSC students and employees during the fall term of 2010 clearly demonstrated that a large majority, 75 percent of each population, supported development of a Tobacco-Free environment, and less than 10 percent opposed the initiative.
SFSC is committed to providing a healthy working and learning environment and recognizes the increasing weight of scientific evidence that smoking is harmful not only to the active smoker but also to the individual who is exposed to others' smoke. The purpose of this policy is to reduce harm from the use of tobacco products and from secondhand smoke, provide an environment that encourages persons to be tobacco-free, establish a campus culture of wellness, and promote a tobacco-free future for everyone associated with the college.
Research findings show that tobacco use in general, including smoking and breathing secondhand smoke, constitutes a significant health hazard. In addition to causing direct health hazards, smoking contributes to costs in other ways, including potential fire damage, cleaning and maintenance costs, and costs associated with absenteeism, health care, and medical insurance.
Higher education prepares students to cope with the reality of living situations. One emerging reality is that fewer and fewer spaces permit smoking and tobacco use. In growing numbers, worksites, restaurants, public buildings, shopping malls, healthcare and transportation facilities are 100 percent smoke-free. SFSC is proud to participate in this national and international effort to promote healthy lifestyles and to protect students, employees, and visitors from the harmful effects of tobacco.
What is the difference between smoke-free and tobacco-free?
Tobacco-free includes the use of any oral tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, or lighted tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, and pipes.
Whom does this policy affect?
This policy applies to everyone at any college campus, center, or other location—all faculty, staff, students, contractors, vendors, and visitors while on college property.
Does the policy apply to the entire campus, including parking lots?
Yes, smoking and the use of tobacco products are prohibited throughout all SFSC facilities, including all buildings and indoor facilities, campus grounds, parking lots, streets, gardens and walkways. The use of smokeless tobacco (dipping, chewing, etc.) is also prohibited under this policy and is subject to the same restrictions.
Why not designate smoking areas on campus?
Offering smoking areas does not support our goal to create a healthy environment for students, employees, and visitors. Concentrating smoking to a limited area only increases the health-related risks to those in or near the designated areas and adds unnecessary costs and safety risks for all.
Will there be cessation programs available for students, faculty and staff?
Yes. SFSC is committed to providing assistance to all students, faculty and staff who want to quit using tobacco. Information on smoking and the use of tobacco products and cessation information are listed on this site.
How will SFSC address compliance with this policy?
Compliance with this policy is the shared responsibility and the right of all SFSC staff, students, and faculty members. The success of this policy depends upon the courtesy, respect, and cooperation of users and non-users of tobacco products.
Any member of the SFSC community may respectfully ask individuals to comply with this policy, refer students and employees to available resources, and/or report non-compliance when appropriate. College Security will remind persons on the Highlands Campus that tobacco use is prohibited. Other SFSC sites will be monitored by administrative staff or other responsible employees. Repeated reminders/notices of violations will result in the referral of students to the dean of students for possible disciplinary action. Similarly, employees who repeatedly violate the policy will be referred to the Human Resources Department for counseling and possible disciplinary action. Visitors and others who violate the policy will be informed of the policy, with repeated violations reported to the vice president for administrative services for further consideration. Patrolling parking lots and grounds for violations of the Tobacco-Free policy will not be a public safety priority, but the policy will be enforced as provided above.
The process of achieving a tobacco-free environment takes time and patience. SFSC believes that self-enforcement will become part of the college culture and the value of compliance will become obvious has it has been with previous limitations on smoking inside college facilities under the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors will come to recognize the value of this policy and will choose to comply. We are highly optimistic that little time and effort will be needed to officially respond to violations.
How will this policy be communicated to students, staff, and visitors?
Education regarding SFSC’s Tobacco-Free policy will be included in formal orientation for all incoming students. Sufficient signage will be posted to inform members of the campus community and its visitors, including contractors and vendors, of the policy. All administrators, deans, directors, department chairs, and supervisors will communicate the policy to everyone within their areas of responsibility.
Isn’t smoking a personal, legal right?
There is no "right to smoke" under any federal, state, or local law. The college owns its buildings and grounds and has the right and responsibility to enact policies to reduce injury and illness by eliminating hazards and unsafe acts and conditions from its premises. A tobacco-free environment policy is not an attempt to force individuals to change their overall lifestyle. Rather, the policy is intended to protect the greater campus community and college interests. You are free to smoke or use tobacco products, but not while at SFSC.
Aren’t college students adults who can make their own decisions about tobacco use?
Yes, but just as college students can make their own decisions about tobacco use, SFSC has a right to make decisions about tobacco use on campus and has an obligation to provide a safe environment for students, staff, and visitors of all ages. This includes curtailing the use of known carcinogens such as secondhand smoke and other hazards associated with tobacco use.
Why should I comply?
We hope civility and respect for others will guide all of us during the transition toward a tobacco-free college community. We realize that this policy may be difficult for tobacco users, but we hope that smokers will respect the right of their fellow members of the college community to breathe smoke-free air. We also expect non-smokers who remind violators of the Tobacco-Free policy to do so with courtesy and civility. We also trust that those who use oral tobacco products will respect the policy and limit use to off-campus locations.
Why not ban other unhealthy substances like high-fat foods?
In accordance with its mission as an institution of higher education, SFSC will continually encourage and offer learning opportunities about healthy lifestyles. However, the health risks and damaging effects of tobacco use – including the harm to others from secondhand smoke – far surpass those of other unhealthy foods and substances.
Do I have to quit using tobacco?
No. The college cannot require you to quit using tobacco, nor would we consider doing so if we could. You are encouraged, however, to use the resources provided on this site to learn more about the health risks associated with tobacco use and smoking cessation resources. If you’d like to improve your health and reduce the health risks to others, we strongly encourage you to consider eliminating tobacco products from your daily routine. We want to help if you choose to quit using tobacco, but we respect your right to use tobacco products at locations other than SFSC or other restricted locations.
Aside from health and safety issues, the financial cost of tobacco products has increased substantially in recent years, resulting in many students and employees spending ten or more percent of their total income on tobacco products. The cost to smoke one pack of popular brand cigarettes per day translates to an annual cost in excess of $2,000 (and continues to rise annually). You may wish to consider discussing the value of investing funds you currently spend on tobacco products into a retirement account or other tax-saving and income producing accounts—you’ll likely be amazed at the savings you may accumulate. And your chances of living long enough to enjoy these savings will be greatly enhanced!