More NJ College Campuses Go Smoke-Free [AUDIO]
In a growing trend, New Jersey colleges and universities are giving tobacco a failing grade and banning tobacco use on campus. The increasing move is detailed in a new American Cancer Society report.
According to the American Cancer Society's "Tobacco-Free U: New Jersey Colleges Expel Tobacco," one out of four colleges have adopted smoke-free or tobacco-free campus policies.
Tobacco-free means that the use of tobacco in any form is prohibited everywhere on campus.
Smoke-free means that smoking tobacco in the form of cigarettes, cigars and pipes is prohibited everywhere on campus.
Dr. Fred Jacobs, the Society's Chief Medical Officer says, "The colleges are a big issue because college is a time when you have a little less supervision. You're off on your own a little more, but you're still at the age where a lot of young people start smoking."
The American Cancer Society gathered data for Tobacco-Free U over the course of several months from 83 percent of college campuses across New Jersey (55 out of 66 colleges). Key findings of the report include: 26 percent have implemented a tobacco-free or smoke-free campus policy; 35 percent restrict smoking to designated smoking areas away from the buildings; 39 percent of public colleges have a tobacco-free or smoke-free policy in place; and Overall, 26 percent of college campuses either have implemented or are in the process of adopting/implementing a tobacco-free or smoke-free policy.
"The data is that if you don't start smoking by the age of 26 chances are better than 98% that you'll never start at all," explains Jacobs. "Big tobacco companies understand that. They understand that the key to their corporate survival is the continued marketing and the eventual addiction of the youth of the United States."
Reasons for implementing tobacco-free/smoke-free policies are varied and include employers focusing on employee wellness to reduce healthcare costs and improve productivity; strengthening the health of students; increasing class attendance; lower maintenance and cleaning costs; reduced fire risk; and lower insurance rates.
"Colleges should be places where students learn lessons to last a lifetime, not where students pick up a life-long addiction," says Alvaro Carrascal, Senior Vice President of Cancer Control, American Cancer Society. "Just as important as the numbers of colleges that currently are tobacco free, are the numbers of colleges that have started the process. A change in attitudes is clear. The shift from campuses that allow smoking to those that don't means generations of students won't be saddled with a tobacco addiction well into their adult lives."