The tobacco industry regularly advertises smoking to college students with ads in magazines, sponsorship of young adult focused events and point of purchase advertising. They know that they younger they can get people to start smoking cigarettes the more likely they will be to create lifetime smokers. In a 1984 quote from an executive at R.J. Reynolds: “Younger adult smokers are the only source of replacement smokers…If younger adults turn away from smoking, the industry must decline, just as a population which does not give birth will eventually dwindle.” Without targeted strategies to reduce the exposure that college students and staff have to cigarettes and cigarette smoke we will be helping to create the next generation of daily smokers.
In one CDC study, the 2009 National Health Interview Survey noted that 38 percent of current smokers ages 18 to 25 reported they began regular smoking after age 18. In a recent UVM thesis, a graduate student in nursing found “that of the undergraduate and graduate students at UVM who smoke, more than a quarter of them took up the habit while at UVM.”
For these reasons and more many of our VT colleges have formed task forces and committees to look at improvement to their current policies. In the last year UVM, St. Michael’s college, and VT Technical College have all set goals of working toward a tobacco or smoke free campus policy in the next 1-3 years with actionable steps to implementation.
We applaud them for their commitment to improving health on their campuses!
Watch a video on the Tobacco-Free UVM website about why they want a tobacco free campus here.