California State University, Long Beach
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Campus To Go Tobacco Free In 2016

Published: November 3, 2015

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley, in collaboration with campus constituencies, launched a campus-wide smoking cessation promotion called the Breathe Campaign and website, a positive education effort to promote public awareness of the health risks of tobacco use and exposure to smoke, including vapor. This is in advance of the campus going tobacco free in fall of 2016.

“My goal is not to punish smoking, a very powerful addiction, but to offer help to those trying to quit. Research demonstrates the adverse health effects of smoking on both users and bystanders. The Breathe Campaign sends an affirmative reminder that everyone’s health depends on each of us,” said Conoley.

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report in 2014 blamed smoking for 480,000 deaths in the United States annually. In that report, tobacco use was linked to 12 types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and atherosclerosis.

In 2013, the student body at CSULB voted to institute a smoke-free policy. Conoley established a campus task force to develop a campus tobacco and smoke-free policy and implementation plan. Central to its work is the development of the Breathe Campaign to ensure those most affected by the outcome of the referendum continue to feel like highly-valued members of the campus community.

Task force members represent all campus constituencies, including the population who use tobacco products. Its members include representatives from the Academic Senate, Associated Students, Human Resources, Student Health Services, Student Affairs, California Faculty Association, Student Union, Athletics, Carpenter Center for Performing Arts, College of Continuing and Professional Education’s American Language Institute, President’s Office, Administration and University Police.

To solicit input from the campus community, a tobacco survey was distributed and focus groups were held. Of the respondents, students represented 77 percent, staff 13 percent, faculty 9 percent and administrators 1 percent. Among all respondents, 52 percent reported that second-hand smoke typically bothers them a lot. Among all respondents, 75 percent support CSULB becoming a smoke/tobacco-free campus. Eighty percent of administrators, 80 percent of faculty, 82 percent of staff and 73 percent of students support CSULB becoming a smoke/tobacco-free campus.

Experience has shown that many colleges and universities find that they do not need to enforce the policy if they encourage compliance through educational campaigns. If education and peer enforcement does not result in increased compliance, the university has the authority to issue citations to individuals violating the smoke-free policy. Under state law, public colleges and universities can determine if they want to fine violators and, if so, the amount of the fine is not to exceed $100. Collected funds can be allocated to include, but not limited to, the designated enforcement agency, education and promotion of the policy, and tobacco cessation treatment options.