TOWSON, Md. (Aug. 1, 2010)—In the culmination of more than three years of planning, Towson University became a smoke-free campus on Aug. 1, 2010. Towson is the first four-year institution in Maryland to enact a campus-wide smoke-free policy.
All Towson University buildings and exterior grounds are now designated as non-smoking areas. This includes the athletics precinct, Bill Bateman’s restaurant, and all parking garages, open spaces and recreational facilities. Students, faculty, staff or visitors who are unsure of smoke-free boundaries should check the TU Smoke-Free Map (PDF).
“I am pleased that Towson University is leading the way in becoming Maryland’s first smoke-free four-year university," says TU President Robert L. Caret. "Developing a smoke-free campus plan was a process that required the input of our entire community. Putting the plan into action will require the same collective effort."
The smoke-free policy was created with input from faculty, staff and students, including representatives from the Student Government Association, TU Staff Council and University Senate. The policy aims to reduce the health risks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke, reduce health costs associated with smoking and ensure that all members of the campus community have access to clean air.
"From a health perspective, everyone stands to benefit from this change," says Dr. Jane Halpern, director of the Dowell Health Center. "For smokers, a reduction in smoking during the work day will lessen their risk of disease. It also incentivizes them to quit altogether. Nonsmokers on campus will no longer by exposed to secondhand smoke, which exacerbates conditions such as asthma and other chronic lung disease and allergies, not to mention the increased risk of lung cancer."
Towson University's Dowell Health Center has established smoking cessation programs to help students, faculty and staff kick the habit.
The Health Center offers free individual smoking cessation assessments and nicotine replacement therapies, as well as smoking cessation classes in partnership with the Baltimore County Health Department.