Jul 18, 2012

Colleges go Smoke-Free for the 21st Century

University of Maryland College Park
This week, the University System of Maryland (USM) announced that smoking would no longer be permitted on any of the 12 USM campuses, including the flagship University of Maryland atvCollege Park.
The policy, which will take effect on June 30, 2013, prohibits smoking on campus grounds, outdoor structures, and in school vehicles.  Each university president, however, will be able to designate a “very limited area” where smoking may occur without interfering with the health of others.
And Maryland is not alone.  According to the Associated Press, bans on use, advertising, and sales of tobacco in all forms are being enacted or considered at as many as half of all campuses nationwide.
For example, a ban on use and advertising at the City University of New York system goes into effect in September.  California’s state system will begin barring tobacco use in 2013; the 63 SUNY campuses will ban smoking starting in 2014; and the Ohio Board of Regents is currently considering an outdoors ban on tobacco at all Ohio two- and four-year institutions—smoking indoors is already prohibited.
“There was a consensus among the [USM] presidents that it was beneficial to the health of all the campus communities for the system to adopt a policy that would ban smoking on university property and otherwise promote smoke-free campus environments across the system,” said USM spokesman Mike Lurie.
And the Americans for Nonsmokers Rights (ANR) agrees. 
“College students are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry as potential, young customers,” according to the ANR website.  “One need only look at promotions held in bars across campuses all over the country to realize that 18-24 year olds are important to the tobacco industry.”
Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Illinois already have smokefree state laws protecting students and college staff from secondhand smoke in residence halls.  More frequently, colleges take the initiative and set policies banning smoking in residences and dormitories as both unhealthy and dangerous.
High school students researching policies on specific college campuses can check out the specific list of smoking bans provided on the ANR website.  Given the trend, smokers will definitely want to rethink.

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