Webster University students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors deserve the healthiest possible place to live, work and learn. While we respect the rights of those who use tobacco and other nicotine products and smoking devices, research continues to show that the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, smokeless tobacco, and other tobacco products, as well as exposure to secondhand smoke, leads to disease and premature death for smokers and non-smokers alike. In addition, cigarette litter and smoke are toxic to our environment.
Because it is important to protect our community from these serious health risks and adverse environmental effects, the University’s Webster Groves, Missouri, campus will be designated as a tobacco-free and smoke-free campus effective Aug. 15, 2018, joining the many universities across the United States and in Missouri that are preparing to or have already set this policy.
In September of 2015, the Student Government Association (SGA) presented a referendum proposal to the President and Provost to ban smoking on campus. It was suggested at that time that the SGA reach out to other affected groups on campus to form a task force. Accordingly, in August of 2016, the SGA met with members from the Wellness Committee, Faculty Senate and Webster Staff Alliance to discuss the proposal. During this time, a survey was conducted of all students, faculty and staff, which overwhelmingly supported Webster becoming a smoke-free campus. After several meetings, a new policy was presented with a 2018 implementation date recommended. The Administrative Council accepted the proposal with minor changes to the policy and an implementation for 2018.
The Tobacco-Free and Smoke-Free initiative prohibits the use of tobacco (cigars, cigarettes, pipes, hookahs, all forms of smokeless tobacco, clove cigarettes), other smoking devices such as vapor and electronic cigarettes, and oral tobacco (e.g., spit and spitless, smokeless, chew, snuff) and nasal tobacco in any area of the campus. This includes all indoor and outdoor areas that are owned and leased by the University, including all buildings and facilities, outdoor areas, parking lots and vehicles on campus.
This initiative applies to all full-time and part-time students, faculty and staff at the Webster Groves campus, to all third party contractors working on the campus and to all guests and visitors to the Webster Groves campus. All events hosted by the University as well as those hosted by outside groups on the University’s campus shall be tobacco-free. The policy does not obligate anyone to give up tobacco products, but merely to refrain from smoking and using tobacco products on campus and other University owned or leased property.
To help with this transition, all ash urns will be removed throughout campus. Signage will be added throughout campus prior to Aug. 15 that indicates Webster University is a tobacco-free campus.
The success of this policy is dependent on the thoughtfulness, consideration, and cooperation of both tobacco users/smokers and non-tobacco users/non-smokers to comply with the policy. All students, employees and visitors to campus are asked to be mindful and courteous of our residential and business neighbors surrounding University properties in adhering to this policy. The Department of Public Safety, Office of the Dean of Students, Office of Human Resources and all members of University leadership are charged with primary enforcement of this policy.
Repetitive offenders of this policy are subject to disciplinary policies and procedures as described in the handbook for their primary constituency with the University. Others may be invited to leave the University premises.
Resources & Support
While change is not always easy, this policy change reinforces our commitment to preserving and improving the health and comfort of our students, faculty, staff and guests. The commitment to a tobacco-free campus is a responsibility we all share together. For those who are tobacco users, the University recognizes the support that students, faculty and staff need in pursuing a tobacco-free and smoke-free campus. Available resources are listed on our website at webster.edu/wellness under “Resources – Tobacco and Smoke-Free Resources.”