Open letter regarding tobacco-free campus

Dear Carolina Family,

As a public health scientist, I am acutely aware that good health habits have a profound impact on body, mind and spirit. This is why Patricia and I are passionate advocates for healthy campus living. We've worked with many of you to imagine, create and implement positive changes on campus. I'm pleased that we now have a better variety of healthy dining choices. I'm happy to see members of the Carolina family maintaining garden plots or purchasing fresh, locally grown produce at our Farmers Market. And, of course, there is no place like the Strom to relieve stress through exercise.

So it's the right time to take the next step. I have now signed USC's new tobacco-free policy. This means that in January our campus will become tobacco-free. Our research tells us that 86 percent of Carolina students and 94 percent of our faculty and staff members do not smoke, and 70 percent of our students and 80 percent of our faculty and staff are in favor of a tobacco-free campus.

I understand that this will not be an easy transition for everyone. Please know that for those of you who desire to quit smoking or to abstain from other tobacco use, Carolina will provide significant support through ongoing communication and cessation programs. To review the new policy and to learn more about these programs, I encourage you to visit sc.edu/tobaccofreeusc. I hope you join me in looking forward to a tobacco-free environment.

Sincerely,

Harris Pastides