Whittier College announced today an initiative to eliminate the use of tobacco and tobacco-related products on campus in time to welcome the class of 2022. Currently in its beginning stages, the initiative involves a campus wide effort that will include students, faculty, and staff in designing strategies to achieve a smoke – and tobacco – free environment.
Last fall, a taskforce was created to begin the discussion to move toward a tobacco-free campus. The taskforce’s goal is to engage as many members as possible from the college community to formulate a comprehensive plan. The first steps include populating committees, increasing awareness about the risks and consequences of tobacco use, and obtaining feedback.
Other activities include the following:
- Host town hall style meetings where faculty, staff, and students can obtain information, ask questions, and provide feedback and recommendations.
- Gather campus health and wellness data.
- Develop a policy based on the data
- Set a clear timeline for implementation/transition while addressing compliance issues from a restorative viewpoint.
- Provide education on the risks of smoking and other tobacco use for the individual and the community. Conduct passive and active learning programs on risks/benefits.
- Develop and promote cessation-focused activities
This effort is being supported by a grant from the American Cancer Society, CVS Health Foundation, and Truth Initiative. The grant is part of the American Cancer Society’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI), funded by the CVS Health Foundation, to deliver the first tobacco-free generation by accelerating and expanding the number of campuses across the country that prohibit smoking and tobacco use.
“I am proud to move forward to make Whittier College a tobacco-free campus by next fall,” said Whittier College President Sharon Herzberger. “This initiative is a College-wide effort with health benefits for every member of our community.”
TFGCI is designed to reduce the number of people who get sick and die from tobacco-related diseases by reducing tobacco use among college students. College is a time when youth are susceptible to starting or developing a tobacco addiction. The initiative’s goal is to reduce access and opportunities to use tobacco by increasing the number of universities and colleges that are 100 percent smoke- and tobacco-free.
"Tobacco is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Cigarette smoking is responsible for approximately 30 percent of all cancer deaths, killing up to half of its users," said Gary Reedy, CEO of the American Cancer Society. "By partnering with the CVS Health Foundation to create tobacco-free campus environments, we can reduce youth tobacco exposure, prevent students from becoming addicted, and ultimately, reduce the number of people who get sick and die from cancer and other tobacco-related diseases."
The U.S. Department of Education reports there are approximately 4,700 U.S. colleges and universities, many of which have more than one campus. Yet, only 1,611 campuses are 100-percent smoke- and tobacco-free, according to an Americans for Nonsmokers Rights analysis.
The American Cancer Society will also provide technical assistance and other resources, including education, communications, support to quit smoking, and evaluation.