ALBANY, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Three local institutions of higher education and 30 percent of colleges across New York State are getting top marks in a new report from the American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). The bi-annual Tobacco-Free U: Dean’s List report grades all New York campuses on their tobacco use restrictions. In addition, schools with 100 percent smoke-free or tobacco-free campus rules in place were assessed for compliance with those policies.
Davis College, SUNY Cortland and Corning Community College made the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s Tobacco-Free U Dean’s List for having among the most comprehensive policies to protect students and staff from the dangers of tobacco (Grade A). Smoke-free and tobacco-free campuses are part of a growing trend that is detailed in the new American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s report released today at an event in Albany.
“Smoke-free and tobacco-free campus policies help to reduce the initiation of tobacco use among young people and assist youths and adults who are trying to quit,” said Alvaro Carrascal, MD, vice president of Health Systems for the American Cancer Society. “The American Cancer Society applauds the schools on this list which received top grades for their policies and encourages all of the colleges with lower grades to begin or complete the process of implementing a tobacco free campus policy.”
ACS CAN recommends that the Governor and Legislature should ensure that New York State joins the growing list of states to pass legislation that require all public colleges to be 100 percent tobacco-free as six other states have done.
“College campuses ought to be a place where students grow and learn for the future. Learning to smoke shouldn’t be part of the college experience. We commend the colleges that are leading the way with strong smoke-free and tobacco-free policies,” said Julie Hart, director of New York Government Relations of ACS CAN. “We look forward to working with the colleges who did not receive high marks to help develop and initiate policies to protect the health of students and others who work on and visit college campuses.”
According to the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s "Tobacco-Free U: 2015 New York State Dean’s List," the number of colleges that have adopted tobacco-free/smoke-free policies since the mid-2000s has increased 40 fold. In this report tobacco-free means that the use of tobacco in any form is prohibited everywhere on campus. This includes smokeless forms of tobacco and in most cases electronic cigarettes. Smoke-free, in this report, means that smoking tobacco in the form of cigarettes, cigars and pipes is prohibited everywhere on campus.
The American Cancer Society gathered data for Tobacco-Free U over the course of one year from college campuses across New York State (201 colleges and universities). Key findings of the report include:
•More than 4 out of 10 New York colleges prohibit smoking or tobacco use on campus ◦Eighty-five colleges in New York (42 percent) are either smoke-free or tobacco-free.
•Half of New York’s colleges have implemented or are in the process of establishing a 100 percent smoke-free or tobacco-free campus policy.
•Public colleges and universities are more than twice as likely to be preparing to implement a campus policy compared to private colleges.
•More than two-thirds of campuses with a smoke-free or tobacco-free policy appear to have good to very good compliance.
Besides reducing exposure to secondhand smoke there are many reasons for implementing tobacco-free/smoke-free policies. In addition to the clear health and economic benefits, it can improve productivity, increase class attendance, lower maintenance and cleaning costs, reduce fire risk, lower insurance rates and teaches respect for others and the campus environment.
According to the American Cancer Society, college campuses are an important target of the tobacco industry. Evidence suggests that if a young person does not begin smoking by the age of 26, it is very unlikely that he or she will ever take up smoking. In 2014, college age youth (18-24) in New York State had a smoking prevalence rate of 14.9 percent. That rate of young adult smoking is twice the 7.3 percent rate found among New York State high school students, suggesting that a significant number of youth are initiating cigarette use while attending New York’s colleges.
For more information about Tobacco-Free U and to access the report, click here. To get tips on how to quit smoking, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or log onto cancer.org.
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