News Release

Published on Wednesday, December 20, 2006

On January 1, 2007, Western Technical College will become the first technical college in Wisconsin to formally become tobacco free. The initiative, brought forth by Student Government in response to requests by the student body, eliminates the use of tobacco products on college premises, including all La Crosse and extended community campuses.

“Western is joining other area businesses, healthcare providers, and educational institutions in promoting a tobacco-free environment,” said Lee Rasch, Western Technical College president. “This change is designed to create a healthier environment for everyone who comes to Western Technical College to study, work, or visit.”

“We want to help prepare students as they make the transition to tobacco-free workplaces,” said Shelley McNeely, director of Student Development at Western, and chairperson of the tobacco-free implementation committee. "By becoming a tobacco-free environment, we also hope to assist students and staff in improving their own health.”

The college is working to increase access to current tobacco dependence treatment options for both staff and students. They have been working closely with such resources as the Wisconsin Tobacco Quit Line and the Student Health Center to provide appropriate support for those who want to quit.

While other public college campuses in Wisconsin are smoke free or have designated smoking areas, Western is just the second in the state to be completely tobacco free inside and outside. UW-Sauk County in Baraboo is also tobacco free.

For more information on Western’s policy, please call 608.785.9200 or visit the Web site at