The American Cancer Society said they hope to one day see a tobacco free generation.
They plan to make this dream become a reality, one college campus at a time.
“WVU is tobacco free, Marshall is tobacco free, Blue Ridge is tobacco free. Most of the big universities are tobacco free,” shared Rebecca Boehler, Director, Shepherd University Health Center.
Shepherd University is one of the most recent schools to join the initiative thanks to a new grant awarded by the American Cancer Society and CVS.
“We’re looking to have all tobacco products off campus, so that’s our ultimate goal — to see no vaping, no chew [and] no smoking in or around campus,” said Boehler.
Current campus rules dictate that if a student wants to light up they have to do it at least 25 feet from an entrance.
Some students said they aren’t satisfied with these current rules and would welcome the change.
“I’d like to see maybe a greater distance, because I don’t like inhaling that at all,” said Asher Wenner, a student.
“I kind of don’t like smoking. It gives me a headache, and I think it should be banned on campus,” explained Shawn Austin, who also attends Shepherd.
Others find the initiative to be intrusive.
“There are certain cases where you can’t just ban it, because it really does infringe on someone’s rights to smoke, although it is a terrible thing,” said student Lucas Peterson.
The project is currently in its planning phase.
“Hopefully, once we get the assessment data, we can troubleshoot the issues that we get from the assessment data,” explained Boehler.
But, they are already anticipating some road blocks along the way.
“Getting rid of vaping will be harder, because a lot of people think that’s safer,” said student Chase Herman.
“They might get upset, they might leave they might try to hide it they might just go into town…i just know its going to be really hard to enforce that,” said Diana Spilling-Cusher, another Shepherd student.
For now, the school plans to use the grant to do research on how they can effectively start moving towards a smoke free campus.
There are several Shepherd events coming up to combat tobacco use on campus including the Tackle Tobacco Football Game and November Smoke Out Month.