College campuses go smoke free

Published 8:56 pm Friday, July 8, 2011

Many college campuses across the nation are taking a stand against incessant clouds of smoke and piles of cigarette butts in an effort to create a healthier, smoke-free learning environment.

The American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation reports nearly 600 college campuses around the U.S. have already enacted smoke-free policies. Other schools, even locally, have limited restrictions such as banning smoking indoors in residential housing and student facilities.

“We have a smoke-free campus,” said Concordia College director of communications Christine Weerts. “A lot of it is trying to set a good example for students, and we don’t want to encourage them to do something that’s harmful to their health.”

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The American Cancer Society said smoking is highest among college age students 18-24, and those students are smoking at higher rates than any other group.

“It’s a problem,” said president of the ACS Action Network Daniel Smith. “Thirty percent of all cancers are caused by smoking, and I blame the addiction rates on heavy marketing efforts by tobacco companies.”

Wallace Community College marketing and college relations director Johnny Moss said though there hasn’t been any discussion of a smoke-free campus yet, the institution still has deterrents in place.

“We have five designated areas for students to smoke,” Moss said. “Near the health sciences building, classroom building, old nursing building, student services and behind the administration building.”

The ACS is pushing a smoke-free college campus initiative that encourages campus coordinators to hold competitions and distribute survival kits that include gum and support information.

Representatives from Selma University were unavailable for comment.