University of Texas System Works for Tobacco-Free UT Institutions [Video]By Eleanor Bright, UniversityHerald Reporter
The University of Texas System was working to make all 14 UT institutions tobacco-free by the end of this academic year. This move was part of the "Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative" pushed by the UT System.
David Lakey and Ernest Hawk co-founded The "Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative". Lakey is the chief medical officer of the UT System. Hawk is the is the vice president and chief of the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center's Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences. The initiative was taken to stop the use of tobacco in the campus. This will ensure tobacco-free environment for guests, faculty members and staff, students and their parents, according to The Daily Texan
Data collected revealed that the State of Texas had spent $18 billion dollars for the treatment of tobacco-related diseases. Tobacco use was cited as the cause of the death of 28,000 Texans. The leading causes of death are heart disease, cancer, stroke and chronic lower respiratory tract disease.
University of Texas institutions employ 100,000 faculty and staff and had a total student population of 228,000. If all these people avoid tobacco use in the workplace and in the classrooms, the number of smokers will be greatly reduced, according to The University of Texas System.
One of the main reasons for "Eliminate Tobacco Use Initiative" was to reduce the presence of tobacco smoke in the different campuses and to achieve tobacco-free campus.
As part of the initiative, smoking and using all types of tobacco products are not allowed in the campus. This may include the use of e-cigarettes, cigars and pipes. Penalties for violators are specified in the policy governing tobacco-free campus. Support is also given to students and faculty and staff who want to stop tobacco use. There are tobacco cessation programs for those who wish such services, according to University of Texas Arlington.
With other universities following the example of Texas, deaths and diseases related to tobacco use will be reduced. A tobacco-free environment would translate to reduced costs for health care.