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Oxford College going tobacco free

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

OXFORD -- Oxford College will become a tobacco-free campus on Jan. 1.

The college, one of Emory's nine academic divisions, is joining a university-wide adoption of a ban on the use of all tobacco products.

"A tobacco-free environment is in keeping with our goal of creating a healthful academic community that is conducive to learning and supportive of the whole person," said Dean Stephen H. Bowen. "We believe this is a positive step toward a healthier environment for all.

Tobacco in all forms will be prohibited at Oxford and all Emory University facilities beginning in the new year. Spokeswoman Cathy Wooten said the new policy was discussed and studied for almost two years and all academic units had input before the policy was adopted earlier this year.

Currently there are designated outdoor zones for smokers and tobacco users, but those will no longer be in place beginning Jan. 1. Visitors to the campus will be asked to observe tobacco restrictions.

"We have a small percentage of our students, faculty and staff that use tobacco products. Thus far, we haven't received any feedback but I expect we will when we implement the policy," Wooten said, but added that students and staff received notice far in advance of the tobacco ban.

Education and cessation programs that are always offered by the health services department are being promoted during this time, Wooten said.

"We felt like (the policy) was in keeping with the university's goals of educating the whole person and creating an atmosphere of health and learning for everyone, and we decided it would be better to not tolerate that use when it is clearly a harmful substance," she said.