LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 12, 2018) — Thanks to a coordinated effort between University Health Service, UK Health & Wellness and the Tobacco-free Campus Committee, the University of Kentucky has been a healthier place to live and work since pledging to be a tobacco-free campus in 2009.
To celebrate the success of being a tobacco-free campus and to reaffirm its commitment to helping students, faculty and staff stay healthy, UK will host its ninth annual Tobacco-Free Tailgate on Thursday, November 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the social staircase in Gatton Student Center. Students, faculty and staff are invited to hang out with Wildcat and the UK Cheerleaders and learn more about the hazards of tobacco and e-cigarette usage, get information about free treatment resources on campus and enjoy food, games, and prizes.
"Our tobacco-free tailgate is a great way to interact with students, staff, and faculty who are committed to making UK's campus a healthy place to live, work, and learn," said Tobacco-free Take Action! Ambassador Hayley Leach. "We invite everyone to stop by our table and learn more about our role on promoting policy compliance on campus and to obtain information about tobacco treatment resources. Students can also learn more about getting involved in our TFTA! Volunteer program, which is composed of students who are committed to preventing tobacco use and are passionate about promoting successful tobacco-free policies.”
While the vast majority of UK students don't smoke cigarettes, the use of devices such as Juuls has increased dramatically within the 18-24 age group. Juuls, a type of e-cigarette, and similar devices are included in UK's tobacco-free policy, and are not permitted to be used on UK’s campus, inside or out.
“We quickly realized Juul use was a problem on campus, even before all of the recent news stories came out about the surge in use," said Mindy Ickes, co-chair of the Tobacco-Free Campus Committee and a faculty member in the College of Education. "These products are not safe. In fact, one pod is equivalent to the nicotine content in 20 conventional cigarettes. It prompted us to conduct a study among our incoming students. Alarmingly, 43 percent of these students have used Juul and 24 percent are current or past 30 day users. Given the highly addictive properties of nicotine, many of these young adults are now struggling to quit. We would love for everyone to come out to the event to learn more about Juul and resources available to help individuals quit.”
Through University Health Service, students can enroll in iQuit, a free tobacco treatment program for students that offers cessation counseling, a personalized plan of treatment and free nicotine replacement gum, patches, and lozenges for full and part-time students.
For staff and faculty, UK Health and Wellness offers the Tobacco Cessation Coaching program. This program consists of eight to 12 coaching sessions over the course of two to three months, based on the client’s needs. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is available at no cost for those participating in the program.
“Quitting tobacco is the single best thing a person can do for their health in their lifetime, and the University has committed an array of resources to help employees quit", said Audrey Darville, Nurse Practitioner and Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist for employees at UK. "In addition to the services provided through Health and Wellness, intensive, individual support, group support and medications such as Chantix are all available at no cost.”
UK is one of 1,900 tobacco-free campuses in the country. The use of all tobacco products, including cigarettes, e-cigarettes such as Juuls, cigars, snuff, snus, water pipes, pipes, hookahs, chew and any other non-combustible tobacco products, is prohibited on any property that is owned, operated or occupied by UK within Fayette County. That includes buildings, parking structures and lots, sidewalks, streets and inside vehicles. Rose Street, previously controlled by the city government, now falls under the purview of UK and is included in the policy. Everyone on campus — employees, students, patients, visitors, and vendors — are asked to respect others and adhere to the policy.
Kentucky leads the nation in incidence of lung cancer and mortality from the disease and reports some of the highest rates of tobacco use across the nation. UK recognizes the importance of the tobacco-free campus policy and offers many options to help employees, students and sponsored dependents quit using tobacco. For more information on the policy or quitting, go to http://www.uky.edu/TobaccoFree/.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue