Tobacco Free Mass. Targets State's Colleges

25% of All College Students Report Current Tobacco Use

Tobacco Free Mass.

Tobacco Free Mass, a statewide coalition of youth and health advocacy organizations, including the MMS, called for tripling the number of tobacco-free campuses in the state by 2015 at a recent symposium held at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

The symposium convened health, academic, and student leaders who heard from a panel of national, state, and local experts. U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, M.D., M.P.H., spoke about the importance of tobacco-free college campuses.

“Health starts where people live, labor, learn, work, and pray. Today we are here to focus on where people learn and… to reclaim tobacco-free environments of a century ago,” said Dr. Koh, who is a former Massachusetts DPH commissioner.

Only 10 percent of the state’s 115 colleges and universities have a smoke-free or tobacco-free policy, prohibiting students, faculty, administrative staff, police, and other campus professionals from using tobacco on campus.

Twenty-five percent of full-time college students 18–24 years of age report current tobacco use.

According to a 2012 report from the U.S. Surgeon General’s office, 99 percent of adult smokers in this country begin smoking before they are 26 years of age, indicating that colleges provide a unique opportunity for tobacco use prevention.

Physicians who work for or serve on the board of a college or university, or whose children attend an institution of higher education, can help implement a tobacco-free campus policy.

For more information, please visit www.tobaccofreemass.net/tfcampus.htm or email Tami.Gouveia@cancer.org.

—Tami Gouveia
Tobacco Free Mass

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