Why Should UMaine Become Tobacco Free?
As Maine’s flagship public university, the University of Maine seeks to create a culture that promotes a safe and healthy environment where people can learn, work and live. UMaine is invested both in academic achievement and in developing life skills that will promote individual and civic wellness. By establishing a tobacco-free and smoke-free campus policy, UMaine will join some 365 colleges and universities around the U.S. as a leader in the prevention of tobacco addiction.
According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, examples of smoke-free institutions include all colleges and universities in Arkansas and Iowa, the University of Florida, the University of Kentucky, the University of Michigan, Miami University, Oklahoma State University, Indiana State University, Purdue University and the University of North Dakota. The only smoke-free institution in Maine is Kennebec Valley Community College.
Additionally, the American College Health Association (ACHA) issued a September 2009 “no tobacco policy” position statement encouraging colleges and universities nationwide “to be diligent in their efforts to achieve a 100% indoor and outdoor campus-wide tobacco-free environment.”
More and more colleges, universities, communities and employers are prohibiting tobacco use to address the health risks associated with tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
Students are at a critical point in their lives for avoiding tobacco addiction:
- A 2002 Bowdoin College survey showed that the percentage of students who smoke increased from 3% to 10% between their first year of studies and graduation.
- Only 5% of smokers start after age 24, a major reason tobacco companies target young adults in their marketing.
- An American Cancer Society study reveals that 28% of college smokers began to smoke regularly at or after age 19, when most were already in college. Half had tried unsuccessfully to quite in the previous year.