College Dorms Are Now Smokefree, What About the Rest of Campus?

Lung Association Chronicles Smoking Policies on Campuses Across New York

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ALBANY, NY (09/08/2008)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association of New York today released data highlighting the smoking policies on college and university campuses across New York. This information provides a local context to the findings in the American Lung Association's national report, Big Tobacco on Campus: Ending the Addiction, released today, which found that one in five college students nationwide continue to smoke.

"College students should end their academic careers with a diploma, not an increased risk of cancer due to years of secondhand smoke," said Louise Vetter, Chief Executive Officer. "It is important that college students have the healthiest possible environment, and a ‘curb to curb' smokefree college campus provides just that."

Curb to curb smokefree campuses are those where tobacco use is prohibited on all college or university owned property. In New York State, there are currently fourteen campuses which are smokefree from curb to curb.

College students in New York will be exposed to even less secondhand smoke this fall, as Governor Paterson signed legislation in July which prohibits smoking in all dormitories on State University campuses, and in all dormitories and other group residential facilities of private colleges and universities in New York.

"High school students are our future college students, so it is imperative that we capitalize on declining smoking rates by limiting tobacco use on college campuses," added Michael Seilback, Vice President, Public Policy & Communications. "Policies keeping tobacco off college campuses counteract the efforts of Big Tobacco to target college students and help turn smokefree teens into smokefree adults."

Recent data shows a decline in smoking rates among high school students in New York State. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking rates among high school students declined statewide from 16.2 percent in 2005, down to 13.8 percent in 2007. The rate of high school smoking in NYC declined from 11.2 percent in 2005 to 8.5 percent in 2007.

The American Lung Association's Big Tobacco on Campus: Ending the Addiction report provides a comprehensive overview of the current status of tobacco use and policies on college and university campuses. The report also notes that the smoking habits of college-age adults are more fluid -- switching more easily between daily and occasional smoking -- than that of older adults. This characteristic indicates a key opportunity to intervene and reduce smoking rates among young adults.

The report indicates many students view smoking as a social norm among their peers. In the fall of 2006, the American College Health Association reported that 86 percent of college students perceived that their peers smoked at least one cigarette a month. Conversely, data from that same survey indicated that just 22 percent of college students smoked cigarettes at some point in the preceding 30 days.

One key recommendation in the report is that colleges and universities refuse to accept funding, including research and sponsorship funding, from the tobacco industry.

To view the listing of college and university smoking policies in New York State, or to view the Big Tobacco on Campus report, visit

Editor's Note - Attached is a fact sheet highlighting tobacco polices on college and university campuses in New York State.