By Kathryn Dailey, Peer Development Coordinator, Community Health
As we approach the 37thGreat American Smoke Out on Nov. 15, I have been thinking about tobacco use at CU and what we do as a campus to encourage our community’s well being around smoking and tobacco use. As a university, we are committed to helping our students develop healthy lifelong skills. That is why it is crucial that we foster an environment that supports nonsmokers and smokers who wish to quit.
From 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15 (tomorrow), we will have a table across from Baby Does in the UMC Grill area. Come by and get some information about the personal and environmental effects of tobacco. Resources will be available to help you start on the path to quitting.
CU is home to a healthy, vibrant population. Nearly 80 percent of our students choose not to smoke, according to the 2011 National College Health Assessment. However, students’ health can still be negatively affected by involuntary contact with tobacco smoke on campus. According to a report by the Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke, which increases respiratory problems such as asthma and causes lung cancer and heart disease in adults.
In addition to affecting the health of students, faculty, and staff, the use of tobacco is also the leading cause of litter on campus. We are lucky enough to work in a beautiful location, which we don’t want mired by cigarette butts. The use of tobacco also has larger environmental and societal implications, which as a university that prides itself on sustainability and social responsibility, we must also consider. Farmers in developing countries produce approximately 87 percent of the world’s tobacco, resulting in nearly 600,000 acres cleared for tobacco every year worldwide.
So what can CU do to move forward in its efforts to cultivate a healthy, sustainable environment for our students? CU offers smoking cessation services, including counseling, peer support and other resources through Wardenburg Health Center’s Community Health Program located in UMC 411.
We can also look at enhancing our campus tobacco policy. In the United States, over 750 universities and colleges have gone tobacco or smoke free, including two-thirds of our peer institutions in the PAC 12. CU has the opportunity to lead the way in the state by adopting a policy that would protect the health of our community. I would like to encourage everyone to consider how an enhanced tobacco policy would positively impact our campus.