Discussions over whether North Seattle College should become a smoke-free campus have occurred since at least 1997. Since then, various committees charged with studying the issue have provided recommendations, and passionate debate has ensued between those who feel smoking is a personal freedom issue versus those who feel smoking is a community health issue.
Non-compliance with designated smoking areas, constant littering, and chewing tobacco spittle all over campus have been an ongoing problem, creating an unpleasant and unhealthy environment on campus.
Following a thorough historical overview of the college’s smoke-free discussions by the Clean Air Task Force and thoughtful dialogue regarding feedback in a college-wide survey in 2014—during which 70 percent of respondents (828 community members) voted in favor of going smoke-free—North’s Executive Team voted unanimously in spring 2015 that North become tobacco- and smoke-free effective fall 2015. North’s Student Administrative Council expressed solid support for the decision.
This decision is in step with what Public Health Seattle and King County recommends and puts North among the more than 1,000 colleges nation-wide that are now tobacco- and smoke-free.
Town hall meetings were held on campus in June 2015 to obtain feedback from students and employees regarding the best way to implement the new charter. The implementation team will serve on a volunteer basis to assess how the initiative is working, with subcommittees to consider appropriate signage, communication of the charter, smoking cessation resources and related topics.