College Campuses Clear the Air

September 07, 2011

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Though lots of pizza and late nights still make college life a health challenge, exposure to secondhand smoke is becoming less of a threat:  More than 500 campuses around the country are now completely smoke-free.

Prohibitions on smoking in residence halls, classrooms and other indoor spaces have long been  common, but increasingly, students and faculty have advocated for — and won — smoke-free policies that apply anywhere on campus, including outdoor spaces such as athletic stadiums and parking lots. Among the smoke-free venues are all 33 campuses in the Arkansas state university system, and the 23 campuses of the City University of New York.

The policies tend to be implemented smoothly.  At the University of Montana, where smokers staged a 'Great Missoulian Smoke-Up' on August 27 — the day before the tobacco-free campus policy went into effect — health officials report good compliance. 'We haven’t had any real problems,' says Gary Taylor, director of public safety. 

Home football games are expected to pose a challenge, but the university is ready:  It’s hanging signs in tailgate areas, and has purchased sunglass cases, hand warmers and other giveaways featuring a tobacco-free logo to help spread the word.

See the full list of smoke-free campuses.