CMC’s Summit campus considers extinguishing tobacco use |

CMC’s Summit campus considers extinguishing tobacco use

Robert Allen
Summit correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

DILLON, Colo. ” The new Colorado Mountain College facility in Breckenridge could open next year as part of the state’s first tobacco-free campus.

A task force comprised of a smoker, a quitter, CMC officials and others met Friday to discuss how to approach the potentially groundbreaking move at the Summit campus. No college or university in Colorado is tobacco-free, according to the American Lung Association.

“It’s good for society as a whole,” CMC accounting student Ed Crawford said of the potential move.

He said he smoked for 20 years, but quit more than a year ago. He wants to live in a smoke-free environment.

But Jen Kemppainen, an administrative assistant at CMC Breckenridge, said she would prefer a designated-smoking area to a tobacco-free campus.

“There is also a piece of the community that smokes,” she said. “I don’t feel it should be completely banned.”

CMC student-services advisor Dawn Zoni said that maintaining “smoke huts” is laborious, and they often become so filthy that “the smokers don’t want to smoke in them.”

The push for going tobacco-free would emphasize a healthy overall environment, proponents say.

Most of those in attendance Friday agreed that an educational-oriented campaign on smoking’s impact on health would be necessary before a ban.

“The goal is to help people quit smoking,” said Susan Westhof of the Summit Prevention Alliance.

And though the college doesn’t have legal authority to enforce a tobacco ban, the aim is to help people live healthy.

“It’s not about a law,” said Summit campus dean Alton Scales. “It’s about creating an environment that really supports the spirit of what it is we’re trying to do.”

With the new Breckenridge building opening in fall 2009, a new policy could be in place by June or July. The task force will meet again Jan. 7 at the Dillon campus to discuss potential next steps.

In August, Westhof visited Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, which has been tobacco-free since July. She said some strategies used there could be applied to CMC Summit.

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