SUNY Fredonia will become a Tobacco-Free Community on January 1, 2014
Welcome to the Health Matters Newsletter, published monthly by the Health Center and part of the weekly Campus Report. Its purpose is to share information regarding pertinent medical issues with students, faculty, and staff here at SUNY Fredonia.
On January 1, 2014, SUNY Fredonia will join the growing list of colleges and universities across the U.S. who have adopted a tobacco-free campus policy. SUNY Fredonia is dedicated to providing a safe, healthy, comfortable, and productive living and learning environment for the entire campus community.
SUNY Fredonia recognizes the abundance of scientific evidence assembled by the U.S. Surgeons General, Centers for Disease Control, Environmental Protection Agency, and World Health Organization, which demonstrates that tobacco is a profound agent of deadly diseases, responsible for millions of deaths worldwide each year, both to tobacco users and non-users. Additional studies have indicated that exposure to second-hand smoke is a significant risk for everyone. All forms of tobacco are now known to be harmful and highly addictive.
SUNY Fredonia cares deeply about the health of all its members and as an employer and an institution of higher education, the College is committed to providing a safe working , living and educational environment. Tobacco use is inconsistent with the Campus culture of wellness.
Dr. Horvath has assembled together a multidisciplinary task force with the charge of recommending the best means to define local policy and communication about what we mean by a "tobacco-free campus". Download Tobacco-Free Fredonia Charge (PDF) Initially this Tobacco-Free task force sent out a survey to all of the campus faculty , staff and students asking for their input . The results of this survey are as follows. Download University Tobacco-Free Survey (PDF)
In an effort to pass along as much information as possible, we have established a SUNY Fredonia Tobacco-Free Web page which can be found at http://www.fredonia.edu/tobaccofree/. The following are some frequently asked questions and answers regarding these efforts as we continue to finalize the Tobacco-Free Policy.
When will SUNY Fredonia become tobacco-free?
SUNY Fredonia has been in the process of transitioning to a tobacco-free community beginning this Fall 2013 semester. The Tobacco-Free Task Force has met several times, and has begun the process of getting the campus ready for a January 1, 2014 launch date of the tobacco-free initiative. Until that time, tobacco use is permitted only in areas that are at least 25-50 feet away from all campus buildings. Tobacco use in other areas of the campus, including inside of campus-owned vehicles, is prohibited.
Are other universities tobacco-free?
Across the United States, an ever-increasing number of colleges and universities are instituting tobacco-free policies: As of October 1, 2010, at least 446 colleges and universities had enacted smoke-free or tobacco-free policies for their entire campuses (indoors and out); about another 80 had enacted policies that include minor exemptions for remote outdoor areas. Other colleges and universities have not encountered significant problems enforcing tobacco-free policies. The link below will provide a list of tobacco-free colleges and universities. http://www.no-smoke.org/pdf/smokefreecollegesuniversities.pdf
It is expected that all SUNY campuses will become tobacco-free in the near future, based on Chancellor Zimpher’s recommendation, approved by the SUNY Board of Trustees, to adopt a system-wide ban on the use of tobacco products on SUNY campuses. However, that action requires additional approval by the New York State Legislature before taking effect.
Who does the tobacco free policy apply to?
The Tobacco Free policy applies to all College employees, students, visitors, and vendors and is driven by respect for others and the environment.
What types of tobacco are included in this policy?
“Tobacco” is defined as all tobacco and tobacco-derived products intended for human consumption, including, but not limited to: cigarettes, cigars, hookah-smoked products, clove cigarettes, bidis, kreteks, smokeless tobacco and snus. This definition does not include any product that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for sale as a tobacco use cessation product.
Why is smokeless tobacco included in the ban?
Establishing a comprehensive policy that includes all forms of tobacco has better health outcomes, is more equitable, and easier to enforce. The policy consistently addresses health issues, because there is no safe form of tobacco. Chewing tobacco, e-cigarettes and snuff contain cancer-causing agents and can lead to hypertension. In addition, smokeless tobacco use often creates unwanted and sometimes hazardous waste and byproducts that can be spilled both outdoors and indoors. These spills create more cleanup work for campus maintenance staff and harm the environment.
A tobacco-free policy sends a consistent health message by not implying that one form of tobacco is safe. There are no safe forms or levels of tobacco use. The policy promotes and protects the health of all campus members, users and non-users alike.
Smokeless tobacco contains at least 28 cancer-causing agents, and the amount of nicotine absorbed from spit tobacco is 3 to 4 times the amount delivered by cigarettes.
Smokeless tobacco can lead to oral cancers, gum disease and increased nicotine addiction (U.S. Surgeon General). Snuff and Snus have been found to increase the risk of cancer, stroke and fatal cardiovascular disease (The International Agency for Research on Cancer).
While marketing of cigarettes is on the decline, marketing of smokeless products has risen 400% in the last 20 years (FTC). Marketing of smokeless tobacco products target youth by associating the product with sports and adventure activities, implying that use is part of a healthy lifestyle.
Tobacco-free policies are now a national standard for college campuses, advocated by major health agencies.
Are e-cigarettes included?
Yes, the policy prohibits all forms of tobacco and any nicotine delivery device that has not been approved by the FDA for cessation (the FDA has the authority to regulate e-cigarettes as a “tobacco product” under the Tobacco Control Act). National health agencies remain skeptical of the safety of these devices due to a lack of scientific data. Until FDA approval is granted, these will not be allowed on campus, which is consistent with national standards and guidelines.
Will there be designated smoking areas on campus?
No. The use of tobacco will be prohibited on all campus grounds. Smoking zones and perimeter policies have not been found to be effective (or enforceable) and smoking shelters are expensive to construct and maintain. Campuses with full tobacco-free policies have reported fewer problems with compliance than policies that include smoking areas.
What about athletic games, concerts or other public events?
All events occurring on campus or on campus-property will be covered by the tobacco-free policy. Signage, electronic and printed notices will be provided to visitors at games and events to make sure everyone is clearly informed about the policy.
Does the policy apply to student housing?
Yes, the policy will apply to all areas of campus, including student housing.
Do employees, students, and visitors have to quit using tobacco?
No. We are not saying you must quit using tobacco. But we are saying you cannot use tobacco while you are on College property. If you are ready to quit, we want to support your efforts
Am I in violation of the policy if I possess tobacco products?
No, the policy governs use of tobacco products, not possession of tobacco products.
Does the policy prohibit me from bringing cigarettes or other tobacco products to a College facility?
No. Only the actual or apparent use (e.g., ‘smoking’ an unlit cigarette) of such products on campus is prohibited.
Why should I comply?
Civility and respect for others are what guide us in establishing and maintaining a tobacco-free campus. While this policy may be difficult for tobacco users at first, we hope that all members of the college community will respect each other and the environment.
Isn't this a violation of my civil rights?
No, a tobacco free campus policy is not a violation of an individual's civil rights. There is no state or federal law that provides a "right" to smoke or use tobacco. In addition, the University has the authority to govern and regulate the use of its facilities and properties.
Don’t I have a right to smoke on campus?
No. There is no “right” to use tobacco under either state or federal law. Additionally, court rulings maintain that smokers do not have the legal right to expose others to secondhand smoke, a Class-A carcinogen, and they are not entitled to protection against discrimination as “addicts” or as “disabled persons.”
Establishing a tobacco-free campus preserves everyone's right to breathe smoke-free air in a cleaner campus environment, while allowing adults who choose to use tobacco to continue to do so off-campus. SUNY Fredonia’s policy is based upon respect for others and for the environment, and supports the rights and privileges of both tobacco users and non-users alike.
Isn’t it my right to use tobacco?
Tobacco use is a legal product for adults. However, the university owns campus property and can establish policies that protect the health of all campus members. A tobacco-free policy does not prohibit tobacco use; the policy merely establishes where use can occur.
You say the reason for the policy is respect for others but you aren't respecting smokers. How is that right?
SUNY Fredonia aims to balance the rights of the person using tobacco with the rights of the person who doesn't want to be exposed to the effects of tobacco use. We have carefully considered the issues, including the impact on health and our environment. When you consider tobacco users are outnumbered by non-users by around 4 to 1, the history of many tobacco users discarding their tobacco litter indiscriminately, our strong desire to help employees and students interested in quitting their tobacco use, and the message we are sending about the negative impact of tobacco use to all who come to SUNY Fredonia, the justification for the policy is clear. Our objective is to have policies that create the best work environment possible. Tobacco use desecrates the environment and harms people. It is completely consistent with our mission to eliminate tobacco use from our property, but we will do so with respect for everyone, including tobacco users.
What should I do if I see someone using tobacco on campus?
The policy will best be enforced by everyone taking an active role in informing people that a tobacco-free policy is in effect. A large majority of SUNY Fredonia students and employees support a tobacco-free environment, so it is appropriate for you to speak up.
Members of the campus community who see individuals using tobacco on campus grounds are asked to inform these individuals politely that college policy prohibits tobacco use anywhere on campus grounds. Faculty and staff who do not feel comfortable approaching someone violating the policy should contact their immediate supervisor or department head. Students should contact the health promotions office. We expect all members of the College community to treat each other with dignity and respect, support each other, and embrace a spirit of having a healthy living, learning, and working environment.
If you notice an area where people are consistently violating the policy, you can report this to the Office of Student Affairs at 716-673-3271.
Who should I talk to about questions or concerns that I have about the Tobacco-Free Policy?
Your opinion and feedback are very important to us and we want to help you understand the policy and answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact the Office of Student Affairs at 716-673-3271