News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, March 20, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- On Wednesday, GRU kicked off its new no-tobacco policy that will go into effect on Aug. 1.
It began with a kickoff at noon outside the student activity center and continued with a community forum giving students and faculty both for and against the policy a chance to speak.
Only a few students showed up to learn more about the new policy.
"I thought it was excellent, and I hope that maybe they can revisit it in the future," said student Ryan Mclay. "Try to get a larger audience because it's really important information [and] something we need to hear more of."
Out of around 4,500 universities across the nation, GRU will be one of just 767 that are tobacco free.
"I think smokers are kinda used to it and they know there are places they can't smoke any longer," said Marc Miller, dean of the business college.
"Eventually, most places are gonna be smoke free, I think," McLay said.
The policy includes all tobacco products, even electronic cigarettes which are tobacco free, and it will apply everywhere on campus.
"You can't smoke in your car," Miller said. "If your car is on the grounds, you can't smoke."
Students won't be left on their own. The school will be offering classes and resources to help smokers quit.
"A lot of students don't have maybe adequate health care coverage or somewhere to go for resources, so I think it's gonna be an excellent resource for the student population," McLay said.
The school says helping students quit is the ultimate goal.
"If we can just help one or two, that's all we need to be able to do is help one or two people be able to stop smoking and this is worth it," Miller said.
GRU's medical campus has been tobacco free since 2007, so this policy will only change things at the Summerville campus. It all begins with the new semester in August.