FVCC May Become Tobacco Free in 2013

By Beacon Staff

The Flathead Valley Community College campus in Kalispell could become a tobacco-free zone in 2013. The college’s board of directors voted last week on a measure that would restrict the use of all tobacco to a few select areas starting next summer.

President Jane Karas said the idea of banning tobacco on campus has been in the works for some time. The new rule must be read and voted on twice by the board of directors before it can go into effect. A second vote will occur during the November board meeting. It was supported unanimously during the Oct. 22 meeting.

“I think the (board of directors) thought it was a decent and fair compromise,” Karas said.

Currently, there are two huts where tobacco can be used on campus – one by the Arts and Technology Building and another by the Occupational Trades Building. According to college spokesperson Katie Fries, people are also currently allowed to use tobacco in their cars. If the board passes the new policy next month, the tobacco zones would be moved toward the edge of campus. Karas said the school has yet to determine exactly where.

The ban would include all tobacco products, including cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and chew.

If passed, the measure will go into effect in July 2013. Before that date, the school would invest in new signage and provide assistance to staff and students who hope to quit.

FVCC joins both the University of Montana and Montana State University in restricting the use of tobacco on campus. In 2011, UM instituted a tobacco ban on campus and this summer MSU followed suit.

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