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Block: UCLA to go tobacco-free in April

gene block thumbnailThe letter below was sent on Oct. 30, 2012, by Chancellor Gene Block. Get additional details from the UCLA Newsroom article.
To the Campus Community:

I am proud to inform you that I have accepted the recommendation of UCLA’s Tobacco-Free Steering Committee that UCLA become a tobacco-free campus effective April 22, 2013. Once the policy is implemented, the use of cigarettes, cigars, oral tobacco, electronic cigarettes and all other tobacco products will be prohibited on the Westwood campus and other sites owned or leased by UCLA.

Implementing a tobacco-free policy beginning on Earth Day will underscore the benefits that this new policy will bring to the well-being of our entire community. Tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke remain the leading causes of preventable disease and death worldwide. Cigarette butts, which are non-biodegradable, account for one-third of all the litter in California. Cigarette butts and cigarette smoke are toxic and degrade the quality of our air, water, forests and beaches. It is important to protect our community from these serious health risks and adverse environmental effects.

This is the right time to go tobacco-free. UCLA Health Sciences implemented a smoke-free policy last November, and University of California President Mark Yudof has asked all UC campuses to take this step no later than January 2014. Nationwide, more than 800 colleges and universities have adopted tobacco-free or smoke-free policies, and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative has urged all campuses to go smoke-free.

Additionally, UCLA is preparing to announce the “Healthy Campus Initiative,” which will promote the well-being of our entire community through research, education and practice in such areas as nutrition, physical activity, environment and stress management. Becoming tobacco-free is integral to our ultimate goal of becoming the healthiest college campus in the country.

A draft of the tobacco-free policy will be available for review by students, faculty and staff beginning November 15. We also plan to ensure that tobacco users in our community have access to a variety of free and low-cost support services, in addition to those provided by health insurance, to help them achieve the objectives of this new policy. For example, we will offer free nicotine replacement starter kits for smokers who want to quit. We will offer peer support and counseling, and we encourage smokers to use the free services of the California Smokers’ Helpline (1-800-NO-BUTTS).

You will hear more about our tobacco-free policy, as well as the Healthy Campus Initiative, in the months ahead. Our students, faculty and staff deserve a healthy place in which to learn, work and live, and I look forward to your partnership in advancing the well-being of our UCLA community.

Gene D. Block
Media Contact