University of Maine System Adopts Tobacco-Free Policy 

With a new year come new restrictions on University of Maine campuses.Wiping out tobacco is the ultimate goal.A new tobacco free policy will be enforced on the University of Maine system campuses. Collectively the universities have been working on this policy for the past 6 months or so. This means they will no longer allow cigarettes or any form of tobacco on campus in order to promote health and wellness and reduce the harm from first, second and third hand smoke. Ray Phinney, Associate Dean of Student Life & Development commented, saying, “the policy starts on January 1st, but doesn’t actually start to be enforced until April 1st, so the first four months are actually leeway so education, providing signage for students staff and faculty and getting the word out.”Six out of the seven University of Maine system campuses will adopt the policy starting on the new year which will apply to every student, staff member, contractor and visitor. After April 1st, the enforcement would mean that students caught smoking would go to the student conduct code, and for staff and faculty it will be part of their reviews, but Phinney says their goal is not to punish but rather to help.”We’re actually offering counceling to the employees, we are working very closely with our rise up program at the system office so there’s actually a calling number where people can actually work with Cigna Insurance to get information about quitting, but we also have people on campus who are trained to help students and staff members.” Phinney says health insurance is one of the largest expenses of the University of Maine system. So by decreasing the amount of smokers it would increase the overall health of the individuals which would reduce the expense of health insurance. Normally when someone wants to light one up they would have to go to a designated smoking area, but with the effort to promote a healthier campus and with respect to the new tobacco free policy, the only place somebody will be able to smoke is in their own vehicle.The Maine Tobacco Hotline, the Healthy Maine Partnership and the Rise Up program will be available, and certain staff and faculty members at UMFK are actually doing training as well to help people on campus.UMaine adopted a tobacco-free campus policy one year ago today.