Coker College Going Smoke-Free in January

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Oct. 15, 2013 – In an effort to provide a clean and healthy environment for all students, employees and visitors, Coker College announced today the campus will become smoke-free beginning Jan. 1, 2014 and tobacco-free on Aug. 15, 2014.

Smoking will be prohibited at all times, and at all locations of Coker College’s campus, including college-owned facilities, properties and grounds as of Jan. 1, 2014. This also includes all off-site ALPHA locations, Kalmia Gardens, the Sory Boathouse and Byerly Park. The same will apply for any tobacco product after Aug. 15, 2014.

The move for our campus to become smoke-free mirrors that of many other campuses across the country,” said Jason Umfress, dean of students. “It is important that students develop healthy habits. With the emphasis on teaching our students to make smart decisions, this is a proactive step toward ensuring our campus is a place that promotes healthy living.”

Driven by a student-led initiative, Coker will join a growing list of colleges around the country that have made the shift to smoke- and tobacco-free campuses. According to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR), more than 1,182 colleges have adopted 100 percent smoke-free policies.

A survey conducted in the spring by the Coker Student Government Association to students, faculty and staff resulted in an overwhelming majority supporting a smoke-free campus.

“The change to a smoke-free campus is consistent with other policies Coker has recently adopted, such as CobraFit and healthier dining service options,” said Sara Atkinson, president of SGA. “This switch is another addition to the overall health initiative to helping our students live smart and healthy lives, and the SGA is supportive of anything that benefits the overall well-being of our students and campus.”

The purposes of moving to a smoke- and tobacco-free environment are to support the college’s strategic wellness initiatives by creating a living-and-learning environment that makes healthy living a key aspect of the Coker Experience; to protect all members of the Coker community from unwanted, involuntary and harmful exposure to passive smoke and tobacco waste; to promote Coker pride and respect for the campus by reducing a known source of litter and waste; and to foster a supportive environment for those who are trying to quit using tobacco products.

In conjunction with Coker’s on-campus wellness initiative, the move to smoke-free is intended to result in improved health for both smokers and nonsmokers. Coker has established a wellness program that helps students and staff maintain healthy lifestyles through various wellness opportunities, such as on-campus workouts, intramural sports and walking clubs. Food options within the dining hall on campus have also been altered to provide healthier choices.

“We are committed to providing our students, faculty, staff and visitors a healthy campus, and believe this is a positive step in maintaining that,” said director of human resources Brianna Douglas. “It is our belief that this smoke-free policy will enhance the on-campus experience here at Coker and help develop habits for a positive lifestyle outside of Coker.”

Smoking cessation support will be provided for students and employees in the future. For any questions regarding this, contact the Office of Human Resources for information related to smoking cessation.

For more information on the Coker College Smoking Policy, visit www.coker.edu/smoke-free.

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Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.

For more information, contact Chris Dougherty - 843.383.8018

 
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