Rocky Mountain College is a Tobacco Free Campus as of July 1, 2016.
To view the full policy, visit Tobacco-Free Policy.
Mission & Objectives
Tobacco Free - Purpose
The Surgeon General has determined tobacco use and secondhand smoke causes significant health hazards and preventable disease. As noted by the 2009 Montana legislature (Montana Code 50‐40‐102) the “right to breathe smoke‐free air has priority over the desire to smoke.” Rocky Mountain College is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment free from tobacco use for its students, employees, and visitors.
A tobacco‐free campus:
1. Provides a healthy and safe environment free from tobacco;
2. Protects people from exposure to secondhand smoke;
3. Eliminates litter/waste associated with tobacco use;
4. Creates an environment more conducive in quitting tobacco for current users.
Rocky Mountain College is committed to supporting students and employees who wish to stop using tobacco. Students and employees wanting to quit can access the Montana Quit Line at 1.800.QUIT.NOW (1.800.784.8669). Cessation quit kits may also be provided through Tobacco Free RMC.
Tobacco Free Sponsored Events
- Tobacco Free RMC Recruitment Fair
- Campus Clean Up - Free shirts to participants
- The Impact of Tobacco On Our Pets - Come see some community pets
- Quit Cold Turkey Trot and Dinner - 5k Fun Run and Turkey Dinner - 5k followed by Turkey Dinner in campus dining (meal plan required for meal) - Free gift to participants
- Oral Cancer Screenings
- Thank You For Smoking Movie Viewing and Pizza Party
- Relax...Quit the Spit...Kick the Butts
- Kick Butts Day at Rose Park Elementary School
- No Ash DONuT Use Tobacco Dash - Free shirts to participants
Tobacco Free Quitting Resources
National Cancer Institute’s Smoking Quit Line – 1.877.44U.QUIT
Tobacco Free Videos
Tobacco Free FAQs
Why is RMC tobacco free?
RMC is concerned about the health of all students on campus, tobacco users and non-tobacco users, that’s why we have decided to join the Montana Collegiate Tobacco Prevention Initiative (MCTPI). We want to promote cessation and a cleaner living, learning, and working environment.
What is the Montana Collegiate Tobacco Prevention Initiative (MCTPI)?
Montana Collegiate Tobacco Prevention Initiative (MCTPI), led by The BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA, is Montana’s young adult movement to create healthier college campuses in Montana by reducing tobacco use and exposure. Training and technical assistance helps campuses create a safe environment through year-round comprehensive education and prevention activities, cessation services and policy change. Each campus movement is led by an advisor and a group of dedicated students and is assisted by a tobacco task force. Funded by the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program and staffed by The BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA, MCTPI has thirteen participating Montana Campuses including:
- Carroll College (Helena)
- Dawson Community College (Glendive)
- Flathead Valley Community College - (Kalispell)
- Fort Peck Community College (Poplar and Wolf Point)
- Helena College of Technology - Univeristy of Montana (Helena)
- Miles Community College - (Miles City)
- Montana State University (Bozeman)
- Montana State University (Billings)
- Montana State University-Northern (Havre)
- Montana Tech - The University of Montana (Butte)
- Rocky Mountain College - (Billings)
- The University of Montana (Missoula)
- University of Montana Western (Dillon)
Why Have A Collegiate Tobacco Control Movement?
Campus health education of the past has not identified tobacco education and prevention as a high priority. However, the 18-24 year old age group continues to have the highest smoking rate among all adults. We know that a quarter of students begin using tobacco or increase their use while in college and that most students who use tobacco want to quit before they graduate. In addition, this age group is heavily targeted by the tobacco industry on campus with student groups (i.e. Rodeo club, fraternities and sororities), in local publications, bars/clubs, social events and concerts. There are additional challenges associated with the changing landscape of smokeless tobacco options, including e cigarettes and snuff. The goals of MCTPI will help to address these high-risk tobacco issues in the Montana collegiate population.
What are the Goals and Outcomes of the Montana Collegiate Tobacco Prevention Initiative (MCTPI)?
This program incorporates the goals of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Framework for Tobacco Control and the Montana Tobacco Use Prevention Program (MTUPP). The goals of this initiative are:
- Prevent initiation of tobacco use among college-age youth
- Promote cessation among youth and adults
- Reduce exposure to secondhand smoke
- Eliminate disparities caused by tobacco use
- Enhanced campus capacity to implement tobacco control programs
Increased student leadership and involvement in campus tobacco control
Greater collaboration between the campus and local community
Increased awareness of the hazards of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke by young adults and decision-makers in organizations that serve them
Increased involvement efforts to reduce tobacco use and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke by students and decision-makers in post- secondary institutions
Increased number of public and private policies that have the potential to impact tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure among 18-to-24-year-olds, such as reducing access to tobacco products, increasing access to and use of cessation services, and increasing smoke-free environments
Formation of student-led groups on campus to empower college students to take an active role in preventing and reducing tobacco use and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.
How can you take away my right to smoke?
Using tobacco is a personal choice, not a constitutional right. There is no constitutional right to smoke. Montana law says that a person’s choice to use tobacco doesn’t take priority over an individual’s right to breathe smoke-free air. A tobacco-free policy does not take away an individual’s right to choose to smoke, it does limit where a person may choose to smoke. We respect an individual’s right to choose to smoke off campus.
How can I support this policy if smokers are a "minority group" oppressed by this policy?
Individuals who smoke do represent a minority group in terms of numbers; smokers do not make up the majority of our world, the United States, or any college campus in the U.S. However, "smokers" are not a category protected under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. Likewise, smoking is not a protected liberty right under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. Suggesting that individuals who make a choice to smoke are an oppressed minority group is not only an uneducated argument, but can be extremely offensive to truly oppressed, underrepresented and underserved groups, such as students of color. Tobacco use is a choice.
Why not just ban smoking tobacco, as opposed to smoke-free tobacco that just affects the person?
Using tobacco, in any form is a personal choice. A tobacco‐free policy would not eliminate a person’s choice to use tobacco products; individuals simply would not be permitted to use these products on campus where their personal choice negatively impacts the health of all people around them. We agree that tobacco smoke poses the greatest threat to those exposed; however we also know that a tobacco‐free policy is simply the strongest policy.
The reasons we recommended a tobacco‐free policy instead of a smoke‐free policy are:
More work for maintenance staff. Spit tobacco often creates unwanted, hazardous waste and byproducts, which campus maintenance staff members then have to dispose of. Smokeless tobacco use results in spit that could be spilled either in classrooms or outside.
Diseases can be easily spread through spit. Smokeless tobacco spit is considered a biohazard and contains at least 24 carcinogenic chemicals.
Institutions do not want to inadvertently promote a product with more nicotine than cigarettes. Spit/smokeless tobacco has similar addiction potential as smoking. In fact, a dip of smokeless tobacco typically contains 3-5 times more nicotine than a cigarette. Research shows that smokers have difficulty switching 2 from cigarettes to smokeless tobacco. Instead, many become dual users of both cigarettes and smokeless products – increasing the addiction.
Smokeless tobacco use is a precursor to cigarette use. Specifically, adolescents who use smokeless tobacco are more likely to become cigarette smokers according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). More information on this can be found at the CDC website.
Smokeless tobacco is a “gateway” substance for cigarette smoking, alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs according to a CDC report on “Spit Tobacco (Dip, Chew, Snuff, Smokeless)” released in 2003.
A tobacco‐free policy eliminates loopholes that can be exposed by the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry recognizes the increase in smoke-free laws and is rapidly developing and marketing smokeless products to young adults so that users can “smoke when you can, dip when you can’t.” Between 1998‐2005, tobacco industry has increased smokeless (and even spitless) tobacco marketing by 74%, spending $250.7 million on smokeless tobacco marketing in 2005 alone (Campaign for Tobacco‐Free Kids). The tobacco industry has manipulated the public long enough – this is our chance to be a step ahead and disallow these deadly, addictive products on campus.
Smokeless tobacco rates could increase. With no smoking on campus, students may become more aware of smokeless tobacco use, perceiving it as an “acceptable” behavior. Because we know where tobacco marketing is headed, it would be extremely unsettling if smoking rates decreased, but smokeless tobacco rates increase.
Concerns about our environment. Smokeless tobacco still uses the same tobacco manufacturing methods that cause deforestation, soil erosion, and poverty.
Why not address other major health issues facing college students?
Tobacco-free policy work is not intended to distract from other health issues. RMC encourages everyone to work on a variety of health and safety issues impacting students on our campus.
So why focus on tobacco?
Tobacco use is an extremely important health crisis that has been largely ignored in the U.S. due to the chokehold of the tobacco industry (a.k.a. Big Tobacco). Tobacco-related death is the most preventable cause of mortality. Each year, over 400,000 people die in the U.S. from tobacco-related causes. Tobacco use accounts for more annual deaths than suicide, murder, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, illegal drug use and motor vehicle injuries combined. Tobacco use and secondhand smoke are major health issues and can be influenced directly through policies promoting tobacco-free environments. Not only is this a major issue, but also, unlike many other health issues, one person's choice to use tobacco directly affects the health of others on a daily basis.
There are so many other pollutants in the air from cars, homes, landscaping machinery, and power plants – who cares about secondhand smoke? We can’t eliminate all pollution, so why bother?
This is true! Just because we can’t solve every problem doesn’t mean we shouldn’t solve the problems we can fix. Even with a tobacco-free policy, there would still be some forms of pollution in the air. But we know that secondhand smoke kills 50,000 Americans every year, and saving these lives through tobacco-free policies is well worth it.
Why not just enforce the former ‘perimeter policy’ of 50 feet?
Perimeter policies simply do not address the risk of secondhand smoke exposure. Because there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, people who choose to smoke on campus negatively impact the health of all people around them. On most campuses students report exposure to secondhand smoke. In many cases, campus is the number one place students are exposed to secondhand smoke (particularly since Clean Indoor Air Acts have been established). Outdoor levels of secondhand smoke rival those of indoor levels. Even brief exposure to smoke, as you’re walking into a building, can cause or exacerbate asthma attacks, allergies, and bronchitis.
Are electronic cigarettes included?
Yes. The policy prohibits all forms of tobacco and nicotine delivery devices, even those not regulated and approved by the FDA. This is the same throughout the nation.
Does the policy extend to other campus-owned property?
Yes, the policy encompasses all campus owned property. Tobacco use will prohibited in all campus owned vehicles as well.
Is there a designated smoking area on campus?
No. The use of tobacco will be prohibited on all campus grounds. Smoking zones and perimeter policies have not been found to be effective (or enforceable) and smoking shelters are expensive to construct and maintain. Campuses with full tobacco-free policies have reported fewer problems with compliance than policies that include smoking areas.
How will the policy be enforced?
Initially, there will be an emphasis on education as the campus and community adapt to the policy. Violators will receive a friendly reminder, along with cessation information. Repeat or problem violations will be handled like any other conduct issue on campus: either through the Dean of Student’s office or the employee’s department. A recent study of tobacco-free campuses found that most campus members respect the policy once they are informed. Serious enforcement problems are infrequent and are managed by campus officials.
How can I report a violation?
The policy will best be enforced by everyone taking an active role in informing people that a tobacco-free policy in is effect. If you would like to alert the RMC Tobacco Free Task Force regarding general policy violations, areas of high non-compliance, or trouble spots on campus, please contact the RMC Tobacco Free Task Force at TobaccoFree@rocky.edu.
How can I or someone I know quit?
Tobacco-free policies have been shown to encourage people to quit. These policies also support those who are trying to quit. Free quit-kits are available from the Tobacco Free RMC task force. The Montana Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)) provides individual coaching and free or low-cost cessation support, including nicotine replacement therapies and prescription drugs. For more information on campus and community cessation support, visit http://www.montana.edu/oha/tobaccofree/.
If I want to help tobacco-free efforts on campus, who should I contact?
Tobacco Free RMC is a task force and an active student group working to prevent tobacco use on campus and support cessation. Contact us at TobaccoFree@rocky.edu.
Who is affected by the tobacco free campus policy?
The Tobacco Free RMC policy applies to all persons in or on property owned, leased, or used for specific events by the College or any of its components.
What about athletic events or other events on campus?
All College events on or off campus, including home football games, will be tobacco free events.