Students educate UAA community about upcoming implementation of a smoke-free campus during Kick Butts Day.

On March 18, volunteers scatted across campus to educate students and faculty. Volunteers gave out free brochures, swag and ice cream sundaes to capture the attention of students and staff.  They introduced resources available for students and staff who want to quit smoking, and they educated passersby about Kick Butts Day and UAA’s smoke-free policy coming into effect later this year.

“It’s about preventing secondhand smoke and investing in your future” said Neelou Tabatabai, who was one of the volunteers who set up booths in Rasmuson Hall, the Student Union and the Social Sciences Building.

Kick Butts Day is a nationally recognized event that empowers youth to stand against tobacco.

Event volunteer Yesenia Camarena sees Kick Butts Day as a great day to spread the word about how to quit smoking and on-campus resources for those hoping to do so.

Camarena said the policy will help incoming students abstain from smoking.

“It will help all the students transitioning from high school to college to not pick up smoking, since it isn’t allowed on campus,” Camarena said.

In addition to celebrating Kick Butts Day the volunteers also used the event to inform students and faculty of the upcoming implementation of the smoke-free campus policy. This policy was voted for by students in April 2014. The policy went to the Board of Regents, which passed the motion Dec. 11, 2014. The policy will be implemented Nov. 19. The University of Alaska Southeast and Fairbanks campuses will implement the policy no later than December 2015.

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Almost 80 percent of UAA students do not smoke and nearly 75 percent of students support a smoke-free campus. In contrast, international studies student Madeline Neel feels implementing this policy is unnecessary.

“The population of smokers on campus is so minute it seems, I don’t see this policy making a dramatic difference, if any,” Neel said. “I think if people want to smoke their cigarettes in their cars on campus between classes, they should be allowed to. It seems insignificant to me.”

The UA system will join nearly 1,200 other universities across the nation implementing this smoke-free policy.

To learn more about the campus smoke-free policy visit http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/chancellor/smoke-free-policy.cfm