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Monday, April 18, 2011

Smoke Free College Campuses


College campuses are a new environment for young adults to spread their wings, some of which for their first time. Influences can play a huge role in how one's college experience unfolds, bad influences like drugs and alcohol can have the power to cut one's college experience short. In the past ten years college campuses have begun cracking down on smoking cigarettes as well. A number of campuses began implementing programs that would set up designated smoking areas on campus, places that were tucked away and barely visible unless one was looking for a place to smoke. Now, colleges can go one step further by becoming certified as "Smoke Free" by a non-profit health organization, according to the New York Times.

Campuses that successfully provide documentation about their policies and their connections (or lack thereof) to tobacco companies will be granted status by the nonprofit organization Bacchus Network. Photos displaying the signs used to promote being smoke-free must be submitted in order to qualify. Colleges have to pay $295 application fee in order to become certified. Nine colleges have applied so far and three have been successful. There are three levels of certification, the article says. Winona State in Minnesota has achieved Silver, while Nebraska Methodist College and Oklahoma State have achieved Gold. No campus has yet attained Diamond status.

A number of campuses claim to be smoke-free, but, according to the American Lung Association, there are 259 tobacco-free campuses including chewing tobacco and snuff. The American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation says there are 466 campuses that ban smoking on university grounds. The more campuses that become smoke free, the better off the students will be by promoting a healthier environment in which to achieve. It is never too late to quit smoking cigarettes and there are number of groups that can help with support.

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