At least 43 colleges have gone smoke-free from California to New Jersey, according to USA Today. Nearly 31 percent of full-time college students smoke, compared with about 25 percent of the overall population, according to the federal government’s 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Smoking is being banned everywhere on these campuses, even in the main quads and sidewalks.
“It’s a public policy for the greater good,” Christine Hyson, director of health and wellness education, said. ” It’s a public health issue because it infects others.”
Smoking on most campuses, including Cabrini, already is prohibited inside and 30 feet around dorms. A full ban could bar students from smoking on campus or in dorm parking lots also.
A major problem with smoking on campus is the health issues related to second-hand smoke.
“Second-hand smoke is a real health risk particularly in younger people.” Hyson said. “Whatever you can do to limit it helps to prevent a higher risk.”
C. Everett Koop, former surgeon general of the United States, once said that nicotine has an addictiveness similar to that of heroin or cocaine. College students today have fallen prisoner to this threatening addiction. With that in mind, recent steps have been taken in order to restrain this habit.
“Students underestimate the power of addiction, and how it becomes woven into their daily life,” Hyson said.
Eastern University is already one campus that is smoke-free. Schools such as Neumann College have pavilions meant for smokers, but these pavilions aren’t all that safe because of the amount of second-hand smoke.
“Where am I supposed to smoke,” Michael Dignen, a junior graphic design major, said.
For smokers, if this ban does infact come into effect, they will just have to smoke off campus.
Philip Morris USA, the leading cigarette manufacturer in the United States, declares second-hand smoke from cigarettes causes disease, including lung cancer, heart disease, asthma and respiratory infections. Public health officials also believe that the conclusions of public health officials concerning environmental tobacco smoke are sufficient to warrant measures that regulate smoking in public places.
“It’s a very good idea,” Nicole Weaver, a sophomore English and communication major, said. “But I just don’t know how smokers would feel about it.”
According to Susan Fitzgerald, coordinator of health services, the Cabrini health services has looked into the smoke-free policies, but at the time, they were not willing to adopt the policy as their own. Fitzgerald also suggested Cabrini’s student government association, should play a prominent role in bringing attention to this circumstance.
“I support this policy whole-heartedly,” Fitzgerald said. “The majority of Cabrini students would obey this policy because they do not smoke anyway.” But Fitzgerald worries that for those students who are smokers, the policy would be much more of a challenge.
“Students form lifelong habits in college, so reducing their exposure to cigarettes may have a lasting effect,” Betsy Foy of the American College Health Association said to USA today. “If you’re not allowed to smoke on campus, if you can’t buy tobacco products on campus, it will definitely deter some students from smoking.”
Hyson and Fitzgerald urge students who are willing to help institute this smoking ban on campus to contact Hyson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Smoke Free classes are now available also. These classes involve A series of six programs taking place on March 13, 20, and 27 and April 3, 10, and 17. Please contact Hyson at 610-902-8316 or email@example.com to register. This will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in the Grace Hall board room.