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The Rapid Growth of Smoke-Free College Campuses

The number of smoke-free campuses has more than doubled over the last half decade, a new study says.

Brandon Walker

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In 2012, 774 US colleges and universities had smoke-free campus policies. Five years later, as of November 2017, that number has more than doubled, increasing to 2,082, according to a new study.

In the study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was found that roughly 84 percent of the smoke-free campuses had tobacco free policies in place – which banned the use of smokeless tobacco products. Those colleges also banned e-cigarette and hookah at 80 percent and 41 percent, respectively, reported USNews.

Every year in the country, the report confirms, cigarette smoking is the cause for about 480,000 deaths – 41,000 of which from secondhand smoke exposure from adults who do not smoke. The CDC explains that college campuses across the nation are the perfect places for young adults to better establish a healthier lifestyle.

“Colleges and universities are ideal places to promote healthy behaviors that can continue for a lifetime, including being tobacco-free,” Corinne Graffunder, the director of the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, stated. “Tobacco-free campus policies could help reduce tobacco use and provide people with a healthier environment to live, work, and learn.”

Even though colleges can create their own rules against smoking, some states have made entire laws to completely prohibit both indoor and outdoor smoking on college campuses. In a strong effort towards making colleges smoke-free, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, and Louisiana –  including some islands – have taken this initiative.

“Among these smoke-free laws,” the report said, “Arkansas’ law specifically prohibits e-cigarettes, Illinois’s law specifically prohibits e-cigarettes and hookahs, and the Northern Mariana Islands’ law specifically prohibits e-cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.”

Notably, as the number of smoke-free college campuses increased, the number cigarette smokers in the US has decreased.

“As of 2016, 15.5 percent of adults in the U.S. smoked cigarettes – down from 20.5 percent in 2005 – but nearly 38 million American adults smoked cigarettes ‘every day’ or ‘some days,” USNews said.

This trend highlights that the change in policy over the last half decade has been showing positive results in terms of  encouraging healthier lifestyles for college students.

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Brandon Walker is a junior finance major at Temple University. He is a committed writer and jazz pianist. Brandon has written for The Temple News and is interested in a career in business and communications. He can be reached at brandon.walker@temple.edu.

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