by Kelly Rogge
Students, faculty and staff will notice a big change as they return to Kansas City Kansas Community College this semester. KCKCC is now 100 percent smoke and tobacco free.
“There has been a desire to go tobacco free that dates back seven to nine years,” said Rob Crane, director of wellness and fitness at KCKCC. “More recently in the last three years has it been considered and moved ahead to become a reality.”
According to the Smoke and Tobacco-Free Campus Policy, which went into effect Aug. 1, KCKCC prohibits “smoking and the use of all forms of tobacco products and/or electronic cigarettes on college property.”
The policy goes on to say that smoking means “any inhaling, exhaling, burning or the carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, clove, bidis, kreteks, cigarillos, hookahs or any other tobacco product in any manner or form.” Chewing tobacco and snuff is also prohibited.
The policy affects the Main Campus, the Thomas R. Burke Technical Education Center, the Pioneer Career Center in Leavenworth and any other KCKCC building, parking lot, hotel room provided by the college, college vehicle and residence halls, among other locations. For a complete list of all properties affected and for more information on the policy, visit http://kckcc.edu/footer/education-equity.
“If you are a smoker, then quitting is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health and those that are around you. There is a large list of ailments and diseases associated with the different types of tobacco use,” Crane said. “There is the primary smoke that a smoker inhales, there’s second hand smoke that is exhaled, and then there is the lesser known third hand or tertiary smoke, which is the off gassing of second-hand smoke from clothing, upholstery and carpet as an example.”
Crane said another benefit to making KCKCC smoke free is the amount of litter cigarette smoking causes. Cigarette butts are the most common type of litter in the United States and are considered toxic waste. The chemicals in the filter leach out into the environment into the waterways and storm drainage.
“So this affects all aquatic life and any animal that comes into contact with a cigarette butt on the ground as well as young children who don’t know any better and pick it up off the ground,” he said. “Therefore a greener and environmentally friendly community is created without the use of all forms of tobacco. Vaping is the new thing and even though some say it’s just vapor, the vapor consists of liquid nicotine and other dangerous chemicals.”
In addition, KCKCC’s Smoke and Tobacco-Free policy falls right in line with the Healthy Communities Wyandotte campaign. Started about five years ago by former Mayor Joe Reardon, the goal of the campaign is to improve the overall health and wellness of Wyandotte County residents.
“KCKCC is a higher educational institution, and it is important to model good behavior for our students and employees,” Crane said. “More and more companies-corporations are going tobacco free so it is important to send our students out into the work place with this type of expectation. With the rise in cost of our health care system, it has been the easiest target to help modify behaviors to reduce current and future costs associated with tobacco use.”
To help students, faculty and staff quit smoking, KCKCC is offering a smoking cessation program through the Respiratory Therapy Department. For more information, contact Tammie Jones, assistant professor-clinical coordinator in respiratory therapy, at 913-288-7197 or by email at email@example.com for times and availability.
Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor at Kansas City Kansas Community College.