By Sarah Hall
Change is a good thing. This is why, as of Aug. 1, 2010, Tyler Junior College is a completely smoke-free campus.
The recommendation was presented to the Student and Faculty senates during the 2010 spring semester and after much deliberation, The Board of Trustees made the decision to ban all forms of smoking. This ban includes no smoking on all TJC campus grounds and in or around all facilities. The E-Cigarette is prohibited as well.
“Getting rid of smoking is a small thing, but it really gives a different impression of the campus,” said TJC President Mike Metke.
Making the campus smoke free is just a small step toward the school’s effort to become more East Texas friendly.
“We want to make sure this is a clean, safe and healthy environment,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Johnny Moore.
To enforce this new code of conduct, no smoking signs have been placed around campus. The administration is hoping that students will respect each other and the rules and accept the change. They hope that not smoking will become natural and, therefore, there will be few problems with enforcing the change. The option of using designated smoking areas instead of a smoke-free campus was also discussed, but was turned down. Designated areas were already established in their own way, and the board was advised against making the decision to officially establish them.
“We did a lot of research. Trinity Valley and some other colleges, who had already gone smoke free, came here and talked about their experiences with smoke-free and tobacco-free campuses,” said Dr. Moore.
All the participating colleges even ones who had designated smoking areas expressed that the best option was to go smoke free.
Students and faculty who wish to quit smoking can attend cessation programs offered at the TJC Campus Health Clinic.
“Dr. Eisjink from our on-campus health clinic has also offered her help and expertise. She can write prescriptions for people who need help in dealing with the symptoms of withdrawal from nicotine addiction,” said Dr. Metke.
There are two prescriptions that help with nicotine addiction and withdrawal, Zyban and Chantix. Zyban is a generic medicine that blocks nicotine receptors and was initially made to treat depression.
“You start the medicine before you quit, so basically it helps you resist the urge to smoke,” said Stephanie Eijsink, TJC’s resident M.D.
Dr. Eijsink said that psychologically, smokers wanting to quit should set a “quit date” before beginning to quit and that support should be sought, whether it is from family, friends or a support group.
Support groups are being offered every Monday from 4-4:30 p.m. and a repeat session from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Toni Dowdy Director of Social Services at the ETMC Behavioral Health Center and Program Coordinator for ETMC Employee Assistance Program, will be leading these sessions. Dowdy has had 17 years of social work experience and is an expert in employee assistance as it relates to addiction and counseling.
For more information on the smoke-free policy, contact the Human Resources Department. For more information on the support group, contact the TJC Health Clinic at 903-510-ETMC.
By Sarah Hall