Campus News

University System summit leading up to tobacco-free campuses to be held Sept. 19

The Georgia Department of Public Health and the College of Public Health invite the UGA community to attend the Tobacco-Free Colleges and Universities Summit Sept. 19 on the Health Sciences Campus.

This one-day event, which is open to faculty, staff and student representatives from all of Georgia’s public and private colleges and universities, will feature practical information and resources to help with the adoption, implementation and enforcement of the new University System of Georgia tobacco-free campus policy.

“This policy is a major step ­towards improving the cardiovascular and respiratory health for UGA’s 44,000 students and employees,” said Phillip Williams, dean of the College of Public Health, which is co-hosting the event. “And given the breadth of the University System of Georgia, the health and economic impacts for the state will be even greater.”

Last March, the board of ­regents, the body governing the 31 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia, unanimously approved a tobacco ban on all campuses effective Oct. 1. The policy prohibits the use of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, on any property owned, leased or operated by the University System, including outdoor areas and parking lots.

“Tobacco-free environments are one of the best ways to help smokers quit and protect everyone from the dangers of tobacco,” said Jean O’Connor, director of health promotion and disease prevention for the Department of Public Health. “We are honored to serve as a resource for colleges and universities throughout the state, and the country, as they move to protect the health of our best and brightest.”

To assist Georgia’s colleges and universities in putting a tobacco-free policy in place, DPH published a tool kit to guide campus leaders through adopting, implementing and enforcing tobacco bans. That tool kit now is being offered as a key national resource on the Tobacco-free College Campus Initiative website. TFCCI was created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2011 to encourage the voluntary adoption of tobacco-free policies at institutions of higher learning across the nation.

“By offering a step-by-step approach to putting the policy in place, schools can get the support they need for their tobacco bans to succeed,” said Kenneth Ray, program manager for the Georgia Tobacco Use Prevention Program at DPH.

Attendance to the summit is free for all sessions and a healthy lunch and snacks will be provided. To learn more about the summit or to register, visit