Everyone knows that you can’t smoke inside a college building or within 25-feet of any entrance door. However, some college campuses are now becoming entirely smoke-free in an effort to create a healthier and tobacco-free campus.
Last summer, students and staff members at the University of Kentucky patrolled the campus, and when they saw anyone smoking – student, employee, or visitor – they politely asked the smoker to dispose of his/her cigarette. In return for the cigarette, the members of Tobacco-free Take Action! would give the smokers information about resources on campus that would help them quit smoking.
The events at the University of Kentucky are not new to college campuses: there have been more than 500 campuses in the USA that have become 100 percent smoke-free or tobacco-free. There have been 120 campuses that adopted the smoke-free policy in the past year alone.
“They typically come about because students and faculty are questioning the role of tobacco in an educational setting and deciding to discourage its use and exposure,” said Liz Willaims, the project manager of the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation.
This makes perfect sense to me. Students are not allowed to smoke on high school campuses, so why should they be allowed to smoke on a college campus? Of course, the fact that most college students are over 18-years old and are legally able to smoke has something to do with the increase of smokers during college. In 2010, the American College Health Association reported that 4.4 percent of college students from 39 different colleges had smoked every day for the past 30 days. In a world where everyone knows that smoking has long-term health consequences, this seems like a very high percentage of young smokers.
So how does a college campus get its students to quit smoking? Obviously, they can enact a smoke-free policy and enforce it, like the University of Kentucky is doing. Schools can also provide literature concerning the health consequences of tobacco use and provide nicotine cessation products for a cheaper price than can be purchased in drug stores.
What’s the future of smoking on college campuses starting to look like? Laura Talbott-Forbes, chairwoman of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Coalition, said, “we’ve gone from pushing smoking out of the buildings…to now trying to push smoking totally off campus.”