The Tobacco-Free UVM Health Initiative
The University of Vermont is in the midst of a planning process aimed at creating a tobacco-free campus. A campus-wide steering committee is leading the discussion and several working groups are giving direction to the project and overseeing the details of implementation. The University is partnering with a number of external agencies and collaborating with governance groups and campus organizations as UVM continues to move toward becoming tobacco-free.
Open forums for interested students, faculty and staff were held during October and November 2014. The forums provided opportunity for general comment as well as for thoughts and reactions to the draft recommendations put forward by the Tobacco Free UVM steering committee. Here is the presentation that was used during the open forums.
The Cold, Hard Facts
Smoking kills more Americans each year than alcohol, car accidents, suicide, AIDS, homicide and illegal drugs combined (American Cancer Society).
In the US, 47,000 people die each year from secondhand-smoke-related ischemic heart disease (CDC).
In the US, smoking results in nearly 5.2 million years of potential life lost each year (CDC).
In one study, the chemicals that leached from a single cigarette butt soaked in a liter of water killed half of the fish that swam in the contaminated water (Tobacco Control, 2011:20).
Are We Alone?
Hardly! Over 2,000 institutions restrict tobacco use and nearly 1,200 college and university campuses in the U.S. have adopted 100% smoke-free policies that eliminate smoking entirely across their campuses. See the list.
Ready to Quit?
The University is committed to linking individuals with resources to help break the tobacco addiction. Interested?
Start here: 802 Quits —
Find VT-specific help and resources, including free gum/lozenges/patches and a Vermont Quit Partner at www.802quits.org. This local service provides help online, in-person and by phone. (Call 800-QUIT-NOW.)
What Are Others Saying?
U.S. Surgeon General: "The debate is over. The science is clear; secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance, but a serious health hazard. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Any exposure to tobacco smoke—even an occasional cigarette or exposure to secondhand smoke—is harmful."
Professor of Medicine, Dr. Stanton Glantz, University of California at San Francisco about their new Tobacco-Free Campus policy: "UCSF is a 21st century institution and tobacco use is a 20th century artifact that we're leaving behind."
See these thought-provoking videos on "Social Smoking."
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why is UVM going tobacco-free?
There are a lot of reasons we could give, but as a public land-grant university with an historic commitment to health, UVM seeks to provide a clean, healthy environment for the entire community. A tobacco-free campus will:
- Protect people from unwanted and involuntary exposure to tobacco and passive smoke
- Establish a supportive atmosphere for those trying to quit using tobacco
- Create a cleaner and healthier living, learning and working environment
Multiple studies affirm that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke—including outdoor smoke.
We respect the needs of every member of the community. Pregnant women, children, those with bronchitis, respiratory problems, asthma, heart conditions and cancer are especially susceptible to serious problems as a result of passive smoke.