OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley announced on April 22 that the college will become smoke-free and tobacco free on Jan. 1, 2015.
“In our efforts to support the educational mission of the college and to provide a safe, clean and healthy working, living and learning environment, the college will provide cessation assistance and resources to members of the campus community who wish to stop smoking or using tobacco in any form,” Stanley said in her Earth Day announcement. “We’ll also support exercise and nutritional changes to help all of us enjoy the vitality and freedom that a smoke- and tobacco-free lifestyle affords.”
Starting with 2015, tobacco use in all its forms will be prohibited everywhere on college premises, including in any vehicle on college property.
SUNY Oswego will join more than 800 other colleges and universities in the United States that have adopted fully tobacco-free policies and nearly 1,200 that are smoke free.
SUNY Cortland, Cayuga Community College and the 24-campus City University of New York, among several other New York institutions, are tobacco free. SUNY Upstate Medical University, University at Buffalo, Broome Community College and several other campuses in the state system are smoke-free.
The SUNY board of trustees, acting on Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher’s recommendation, passed a June 2012 resolution supporting legislation to make all SUNY campuses tobacco free. The system has actively encouraged remaining members of its 64 campuses to move in that direction even without a law.
SUNY Oswego’s Clean Air Committee launched a website — www.oswego.edu/OzQuits — to help the faculty, staff and students find cessation resources online, learn how the upcoming new policy on tobacco use developed, find links to research, answers to frequently asked questions and an online form for expressing their ideas.
The committee, chaired by Dr. Jerald Woolfolk, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, includes student members as well as representatives of such cross-campus constituencies as the employee unions CSEA and United University Professions.
“This is about a healthier, cleaner and more vital college,” Woolfolk said. “But it is also about respect for all campus citizens — smokers and non-smokers alike. We are not asking anyone to quit smoking or using tobacco, but we do intend for the new policy to provide the motivation and the means to encourage it.”
A 2012 survey of more than 1,200 faculty, staff and students conducted by the committee reported that 16 percent of students said they used tobacco in the last 30 days. Only 7.1 percent of the surveyed faculty and staff said they use tobacco on a daily basis.
Donna Jerrett, a Clean Air Committee member and registered nurse at the college’s Mary Walker Health Center, announced the start of an educational and promotional campaign for Tobacco Free 2015 during an Earth Day afternoon celebration to mark the announcement.
Student and employee supporters handed out brochures and buttons bearing the “OzQuits!” nickname for the campaign and provided information about cessation opportunities, adverse health effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke, and environmental impacts.