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UMaine Tobacco-Free Policy Wins Gold Star Award

The University of Maine and the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast have been designated two of four institutions in the state to receive Maine Tobacco-Free College Network 2012 Gold Star Standards of Excellence Awards. An awards ceremony is scheduled Nov.15 in Bangor.

On Jan. 1, 2011, UMaine became one of a few institutions in Maine to ban tobacco on its campus. It received a Gold Star award from the tobacco-free college network last year. The policy was implemented on a voluntary basis in its first year, and became mandatory Jan. 1, 2012. The policy is intended to extend university student and employee wellness initiatives and to foster a healthier, more productive living and learning environment while reducing health care costs. The Hutchinson Center, a UMaine satellite campus, also adopted a campus-wide ban on smoking and tobacco products Jan. 1, 2011. In addition to students and university employees, the policy applies to contractors, vendors and visitors.

Other institutions also scheduled to receive the Gold Star Standards of Excellence Awards from the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network are Kennebec Valley Community College and the University of Southern Maine. Winning silver awards are Northern Maine Community College, Unity College, University of Maine at Presque Isle and the University of New England. The University of Maine at Machias will receive a bronze star award.

Lauri Sidelko, co-chair of UMaine Tobacco-Free Campus, says the policy seems to have caused a reduction in smoking at UMaine.

Contact: George Manlove, 207.581.3756

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