Holyoke Community College will become an entirely smoke-free campus on August 13, 2012, college President William Messner has announced.
On that day, smoking will no longer be permitted in any building or outdoor area on the 135-acre HCC campus. Smoking is now only allowed outdoors outside 20-foot buffer zones around entryways.
"The decision to establish a smoke-free campus reflects HCC's commitment to provide an accessible, safe and healthy environment in which to learn and work," Messner said in a message sent out today to the HCC community. "It is also a result of the efforts of HCC students and the staff members of the HCC Smoke-Free Committee, who urged us to join the hundreds of other colleges and universities that have already made ‘smoke-free' a reality."
The full text of Messner's statement is available on the HCC Web site at www.hcc.edu/smokefree, along with resources and links for people who want to quit smoking. Counseling and nicotine patches are also being made available through HCC Health Services. "We understand that overcoming the addiction to tobacco is a great challenge," Messner said. "For students and staff who wish to quit smoking or find ways to manage their cravings on campus, HCC will provide a variety of resources."
HCC will also be holding events throughout the spring semester to raise awareness about the new smoking policy and the health benefits of quitting. Testimonials from people who quit smoking-the "Ex-Smokers Hall of Fame"-will be going up soon in the main lobby of HCC's Frost building.
"As with any change, it will take time to adjust," Messner said. "During the transition to a smoke-free campus, all members of the HCC community must share the responsibility of self-enforcement and of creating an environment that is respectful and cooperative."
Photos: (Left) HCC's new smoke-free campus logo. (Right) HCC students fill out quitting cards at the Great American Smokeout last November.