LOWELL, Mass. – Following a yearlong, student-driven campaign to clear the air on campus, UMass Lowell
will become smoke- and tobacco-free effective September 2014.
The new policy, initiated by UMass Lowell’s Student Government Association and endorsed by the Faculty Senate and the administration, will designate all campus property as tobacco-free. Implementation will include signs across campus and smoking-cessation programming provided by Lowell General Hospital. The university’s existing tobacco policy prohibits smoking inside or within 25 feet of campus buildings.
The UMass Lowell Student Government Association’s Campus Life and Environment Committee started the conversation regarding a tobacco-free campus during the fall 2013 semester. On Oct. 23, 2013, the Student Government Association passed a resolution supporting the change and began hosting programs, including a rally during the Great American Smokeout last November. A student petition in support of the measure received more than 2,000 signatures and a survey found that the majority of students supported a tobacco-free environment. The Faculty Senate endorsed the initiative by passing a resolution on April 7.
“Working to make UMass Lowell a tobacco-free campus over the past year has been a rewarding and meaningful experience,” said Amanda Robinson, Student Government Association president and one of the tobacco-free campaign’s leaders. “It has been inspiring to watch countless clubs, organizations and individuals come together for the purpose of creating a healthier living and learning environment on our campus.”
During the campaign, student leaders regularly met with a supportive UMass Lowell administration to provide updates.
“This has been a great example of student civic engagement and a model for how to initiate a culture change on a college campus,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. “I fought big tobacco in Congress because of the insurmountable evidence proving its detrimental impact on our health and our economy. I applaud the Student Government Association and other student leaders for a comprehensive, well-executed and successful campaign to change the environment where they live and learn for the better.”
Beginning in the fall, UMass Lowell will partner with Lowell General Hospital
to offer eight-week Freedom from Smoking programs on campus for students, faculty and staff who wish to quit smoking or smokeless tobacco.
“Lowell General Hospital congratulates UMass Lowell for taking this exciting step forward as a tobacco-free campus, which will directly support the health and well-being of its students, faculty and staff,” said Pamela Huntley, Lowell General Hospital’s director of community relations.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States for both men and women, yet it is the most preventable. Tobacco use accounts for at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths and 87 percent of lung cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society
. Data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
shows cigarette smoking among adults has remained on a consistently downward trend since 1965.
University officials have committed to work with the campus community to manage a smooth implementation of the new policy.
UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its 17,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, engineering, education, fine arts, health, humanities, liberal arts, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers. www.uml.edu