Misericordia University announced effective July 1, 2020, the University campus and all its facilities will be smoke-free and tobacco-free. The initiative reflects the work of the University's Sustainability Committee, in collaboration with the Wellness Committee, Human Resources, Student Life and Safety Department and signifies Misericordia's dedication to maintaining a safe and healthy work and academic environment, improving indoor and outdoor air quality and promoting the comfort of all members of the community.
"Over two years, committee members worked with staff, faculty, administration, and students to make this happen. Misericordia University students and employees are passionate about service and working towards changing issues that they see need to be changed. The work done by all involved to create and execute this initiative illustrates the teaching of the Sisters of Mercy, to create change when a change needs to occur," said Laurie Fennigan, Smoke and Tobacco-free subcommittee chair.
"Misericordia University views our students' safety and health, as well as our faculty, staff, and visitors to our campus to be of the utmost importance. We believe that this change to a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus will promote the health and safety of all who come to Misericordia," said Pamela Parsnik, Director of Human Resources.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports, "Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Nearly 40 million U.S. adults still smoke cigarettes, and about 4.7 million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Every day, about 1,600 U.S. youth younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette. Each year, nearly half a million Americans die prematurely of smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking." Additionally, "secondhand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year. Secondhand smoke causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults."
"To encourage those who wish to abstain from smoking and tobacco products, we will be offering Misericordia community members free, virtual, smoking cession classes. If colleges and universities across the Nation can successfully maintain a smoke-free and tobacco-free campus, I feel confident that Misericordia, with the help of all community members, will support each other in this process," said Parsnik.
Misericordia employees who are interested in participating in a cessation program through the Health Center, and in collaboration with the American Lung Association, please notify Dr. Sandra Federo, CRPN at. Classes will be offered once a week in the evening and will last approximately 1 hour. The course is free, and the only requirement is to complete all eight classes in the seven-week time frame. Cessation classes will also be offered to students upon their return to campus for the Fall semester.