June 2010 cover SCAN - St. Catherine University St. Catherine University
June 2010
 
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Kicking Butts

St. Paul to follow Minneapolis campus lead, ban tobacco

No SmokingUsed to be a time when it wasn't unusual to see a nurse or a doctor smoking in a hospital — but you'd be outraged if you saw that today. The same may be true someday of college campuses.

Come September 1, 2010, St. Catherine University will become officially tobacco-free. Following the example set by Minneapolis in August 2008, the St. Paul campus will ban smoking — and all tobacco use — everywhere on school grounds, including outdoors.

In an era where smoking is forbidden in more and more public places, the move may not seem that revolutionary. But, in truth, St. Kate's is among a relatively small group of colleges or universities to declare themselves tobacco-free.

"In the United States, there are only 233 college campuses that are completely smoke-free, without a designated smoking area," says Amy Kelly, M.D., director of St. Catherine's Health and Wellness Center and co-coordinator of the Tobacco-Free Campus Committee. "This is a growing movement, and we are on the leading edge."

The University of St. Thomas likely will follow in St. Catherine's footsteps next year. At the University of Minnesota, a tobacco-free campus proposal currently sits on the president's desk awaiting approval, and the University of Michigan has announced it will ban smoking in 2011.

Other nearby colleges have yet to make the move. "We are on the forefront," Kelly says. "I say that with pride."

In coordination with the new tobacco-free policy, the Health and Wellness center will offer free cessation services such as support groups, nicotine patches and gum.

— ANDY STEINER

 

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