Dr. Andro Barnett, chair of the Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Sport at Shepherd University, has received a $4,000 tobacco prevention mini-grant from the West Virginia Division of Tobacco Prevention to promote a smoke and tobacco-free campus at Shepherd, for the fourth year in a row.
The Shepherd Tobacco Education Program (STEP) will use the grant in its work toward preventing tobacco use, promoting cessation, and educating the college community about the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Barnett said Shepherd has only a small percent of smokers and tobacco users compared to other universities in the state, but he would like to see no tobacco use on campus.
"That is our number-one goal," he said.
STEP club members meet regularly to get the word out about the dangers of smoking and tobacco use, as well as help in quitting.
Barnett said stress was the biggest reason people on campus do not quit.
"Our students are under a lot stress," he said. "They say 'It calms me down.' We give them other things they can use to calm down."
The program will offer free cessation classes and also assessments at the Wellness Center.
Barnett said STEP has produced some success cases with students who previously smoked. He said they told him the alternatives provided, as well as the tests done, helped them quit.
Currently on campus, smoking, except in designated areas, is prohibited in all buildings and facilities and within 25 feet of building entrances. In addition, NCAA regulations do not permit student-athletes or athletic staff at NCAA-member institutions to use tobacco while participating in practices or games.
Anyone, including faculty and staff, interested in becoming involved with STEP, or for further information about the program, should contact Dr. Barnett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-876-5259.
"We would love for people to participate, even if you're a nonsmoker," Barnett said.