Athens Cigarette Bin

A cigarette bin installed on Court Street in Athens.

Photo courtesy of: Ohio University Tobacco-Free Task Force

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Tobacco-Free Policy begins August 1

This Saturday, Aug. 1, marks the beginning of the new Tobacco-Free Policy on Ohio University’s Athens Campus. The University is transitioning to a tobacco-free campus based on the 2012 recommendation of the Ohio Board of Regents.  

The policy applies to all nicotine, tobacco-derived or containing products including cigarettes, electronic cigarettes, cigars and cigarillos, hookah-smoked products, and all forms of oral tobacco. This policy extends to all members of the University community, including employees, students, visitors, volunteers, patients and customers. For this policy, the campus is defined as the facilities, property and grounds used to carry out the mission of the University. This extends to sidewalks adjacent to University buildings and grounds and personal vehicles on University property.  

“It is very exciting to see the Tobacco-Free Policy come to fruition,” said Ann Addington, assistant director of health promotion and a member of the Tobacco-Free Task Force. “Through its implementation, Ohio University joins over 1,500 universities nationwide to promote an environment of wellness for its students, staff, faculty, and visitors. As the University adapts to being tobacco-free, the Task Force will continue to evaluate the policy’s effectiveness and address any compliance issues that may arise.”

The Tobacco-Free Policy was created with the help of the Tobacco-Free Task Force, comprised of University employees and students from different stakeholder groups on campus who have researched benchmark institutions, implemented campus surveys, and spearheaded efforts to communicate about the upcoming policy over the past three years. 

Since December 2014, the Task Force has given 16 presentations about the policy to various stakeholder groups including Faculty, Administrative, and Classified senates, Student Senate, and the International Student Union. The Task Force will continue to meet after the policy is implemented to monitor and respond to community feedback and work towards helping the campus community with the transition.

Each member of the University community will be responsible for respectfully reminding others of the Tobacco-Free Policy. This follows a successful compliance model utilized on many campuses, such as the Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky. A new student group, Tobacco-Free Campus Ambassadors, will launch this fall to provide leadership opportunities to students who wish to help promote and educate the University community about the policy. 

The policy is part of a major wellness initiative for all members of the OHIO community. Free tobacco cessation classes are available for both students and employees this fall. Class schedules can be found on the Tobacco-Free website under resources at OHIO employee benefits cover up to six months of nicotine replacement therapy for those in the process of quitting tobacco. 

The policy has already had an impact on wellness. In a recent OHIO survey, 33 percent of tobacco users said they were considering quitting tobacco before or within the first year of the policy. 

The policy is also based on a philosophy of respect for others and the environment. It will foster cleaner air and greener space while preparing students for future tobacco-free environments. Show your Bobcat pride and share the message that the Athens Campus is now tobacco free! 

This article was provided by the Tobacco-Free Task Force. 

New cigarette bins in downtown Athens promote litter prevention

As Ohio University students trickle into Athens in the next few weeks in preparation for the upcoming fall semester, they may notice something new along Court Street and other city streets — colorful cigarette bins painted by local artists from Passion Works Studio. The organization, Keep Southeast Ohio Beautiful, received a grant from the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program which has helped provide 52 bins to place throughout the city. 

It is a common misconception that cigarette litter biodegrades over time. The truth is that cigarettes contain a plastic called cellulose acetate, which was the original substance used to make the first Lego bricks.  

The cigarette litter collected in the bins will be shipped to InnovaGreen to be recycled into new materials as part of the Keep America Beautiful grant program. 

The cigarette bins come at a perfect time as there is a predicted increase of University members leaving campus to use tobacco due to the new Tobacco-Free Policy taking effect August 1, 2015. These cheerfully painted cigarette bins will encourage all who meander through the city streets to dispose of their cigarette litter responsibly.